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  1. I’m building a Slaters kit for a GWR bogie clerestory third to diagram C10. The coach is intended for a motley Edwardian stopping train consisting of a variety of carriage styles, as was common on the GWR in the 1900s. But first it will be used in a re-enactment of the 1911 railway strike, and is therefore in the 1908-1912 all brown livery (as yet un-lined). This post summarizes the build. It's a long post but I'm told the kits are due back on the market so perhaps this can help give others an impression of what's involved and avoid my mistakes! What you get. Lots of bits. Wheels weren’t included. The plastic components are crisp and detailed. I did spend some time cleaning away flash. The larger bits of flash are minimal and not a problem, but there are thin strips of flash along the upper edges of the windows which require care. I used Limonene (two coats) to bond the sides, which worked well enough. The Magnetic Clamps are from Smart Models. The partitions were then fitted, followed by the roof. I opened out the notches in the roof for the partitions, so that the roof could be taken on and off during the build. The seats are quickly made and fit nicely in the compartments - not always the case with kit seats! The clerestory structure was quickly built up. The ends and clerestory parts are “handed” with different details at each end. The underframe, solebars and headstocks were then fitted. Etched brass snuck in via the "racking plate" , which was glued in place. I then turned to the bogies. They fold up nicely. One mistake was to put off strengthening the stepboard supports with solder. They are very fragile and will soon break off otherwise. The photo shows the ones I managed to rescue, the rest were replaced with wire later on. The inside frame and rocking mechanism was then made. The principle of the kits - at least those produced until now - is that the wheels run in the inside frame using "inside bearings". Brass wire hold the wheels in place and allow sprung movement. This design has drawn critical comments from people who struggled to get good running. I understand that it will be changed when the kits are re-released. In any case, I lacked the correct axles so decided to go for an alternative approach, using Alan Gibson pinpoint axles in ordinary bearings. Thanks to @Darwinian for the idea. For this approach to work, the pinpoint bearings must fit perfectly into the recessed aperture around the hole in the bogie sides - seen here - and must be of the right depth. Otherwise the sides will splay. Using the right bearings was therefore critical. I tried various types including 2mm Top Hat bearings but these would not accommodate the axles within the bogie frames. Eventually I used these waisted bearings plundered from old Coopercraft kits, as seen above. The ends of the bearings did need some filing so that the axleboxes would fit over them. Filing the inside of the axleboxes also helped. With this simplified approach the inner frame was not strictly required, but I decided to fit it anyway to add strength and hold the rocking mechanism. Are you still awake? Captions welcome. The bogie interiors were gradually becoming inaccessible so I primed them and painted the Mansell wheels. The latter are brownish red as a loose indication of varnished redwood (see good discussion on Western Thunder). A silly mistake cost me dearly. I forgot to fit brake shoes until the wheels were firmly in place. Retrofitting the 16 shoes was a hellish task. As a result the various brake pull yokes didn’t fit properly, so much of that is just indicated with brass wire. Once back on track, the cross stays and scroll irons were fitted. There are useful close-ups and drawings of Dean bogies in Russell's GWR Coaches Part 1 p. 93-95. The scroll irons were then cut to allow the bogie to rotate. Not exactly neat cuts, they were filed later. I do need a proper flush cutter. In order for the bogies to rotate, the frames have to be modified at each end. I hope I got the position of the gas cylinders right. I peered into the murky darkness of prototype photos and Didcot's C10, which suggests it's more or less OK. Next the underframe details were fitted. I shortened the queen posts, as I felt the truss rods ended up too low if fitted as intended. Prototype photos like this one (and the C10 at Didcot) shows them higher up and fairly discrete. Unless truss rods changed over the years? I didn't fancy "trapping" the bogies with the brake pull rods, so just fitted this single rod held by (unprototypical) vertical mounts. The bogie can be slid out underneath it. Bit of a bodge but at least something is there for those rare glimpses. The main buffer components. There’s an option of springing them, though I didn’t use it. The instructions state that the buffers "consisted of a curved oval steel plate bolted onto a round buffer head". The outer plate needs to be lightly curved and then fitted to the buffer heads. I didn't make a good job of this, it looks a bit odd. If I do another one I'll see if ready-made buffers can be obtained instead. Next the stepboard hangers went on. This required patience as the hangers, solebars and stepboards all need modification for the parts to fit, as also indicated in the instructions. The material used for the stepboards somehow managed to be both bendy and brittle at the time, though note that this is a secondhand kit of some age. My adjustable multi-purpose jig a.k.a. “The Piano” saved the day. The lower stepboards were then fitted. I later found that the bogie stepboards had to be shortened approx. 1,5 mm to clear the central stepboard. The hangers for the latter also need modification or they will stick out oddly. It’s striking what a difference stepboards make to the appearance of a coach. From there on it was plain sailing. The roof was detailed using the as lamp tops in the kit, and 0.3mm (0.010") brass wire. Steps fitted at one end, and putty to fill out the corner joins. In 1911 the GWR experimented with Bluetack on buffers in response to complaints about rough riding. The idea was abandoned when a Slip coach destined for Weymouth was found still attached at Penzance. After priming, the interior was painted. I decided to leave the 48 picture frames untouched. Chris: I did try painting them as you suggested but soon realized that it should have been done while the partitions were still on the sprue. The coach sides were brush-painted with my normal method of multiple coats (5 in this case) of much thinned Vallejo acrylics, using a broad flat brush. In the photo a fresh coat is being applied. The coach was painted all-brown as per the 1908-1912 livery. The photos I have show light to dark grey rooves (probably the usual darkening) with no brown beneath the rainstrips. Commode- and door handles were then added, followed by lettering and insignia. The 1908 livery had the garter in the center, and crests either side with "GWR" above. The position of the crests at the outer ends makes for an unbalanced look and takes some getting used to. But that's how it appears in this crop of a 1911 photo of a scene I'll be modelling. Perhaps this extreme position of the crests was in fact a particular feature of the little explored 1908-1912 livery - brakes excepted? Photos of bogie coaches in the all brown livery are rare, but there is a Toplight in Russell 's GWR coaches which also has the crests just before the last passenger door at each end. The photo in Slinn's Great Western Way has the crests further in, but on inspection that coach has guard doors at each end, and so there would not have been room to put the crests further out on that particular coach (crests were kept clear of doors). Of course in 1912 the GWR did move the crests further in, with just a single "GWR" placed above the garter. The 1908 livery saw the introduction of black ends. The hand rails are 0.3 mm wire from Wizard Models, which I found easier to shape than the wire in the kit. Vaccuum pipes and couplings to follow. So far I have never lined my Edwardian coaches, a pragmatic decision in order to get things built and running. In this case it does add to the austere appearance though. Perhaps it's time to try out an Easi-Liner pen. Anyway, that's the current state of play. My original plan was to use this livery for a photo shoot of selected 1911 scenes and then repaint it in pre-1906 livery with cream panels. However I must admit that the sombre look is growing on me. Something to ponder.
    46 points
  2. Not realising that restoring the images to some of my blog entries would also shunt them to the front of the queue, I thought I'd best add something new to redress the balance. Having sat to one side for some time patiently waiting for me to get 'other stuff' out of the way, my William Bridges Adams light locomotive has been lifted out of the box and steered towards a state of completion. At least the locomotive is almost there notwithstanding a few finishing jobs. It still lacks the composite tender brake carriage to which it was close coupled and I have yet to even start this, but it has to be said, completing the loco is spurring me on to get it done. The original was built by Adams at his Fairfield Works in Bow in 1849 for the Londonderry & Enniskillen Railway in Ireland. a couple of others to this pattern were constructed but Adams went bust in 1850 so the design was picked up by Stephensons who proceeded to construct further examples with the addition of a footplate, larger cylinders, better valve gear and other improvements. I suppose you could say this model represents the design in its Mk 1 condition. The loco is built entirely from scratch, 4mm scale EM gauge. A tiny open frame motor (possibly from a Tenshodo motor bogie) sits in the well tank under the boiler and power is transferred back to the driving wheels using a couple of nylon spur gears from the odds box to a 38:1 Branchlines worm and pinion combo. Heaven only knows what the reduction ration is a I haven't bothered counting the teeth on the two spurs but it runs very sweetly at a realistic speed so that's good enough for me.
    30 points
  3. As I mentioned in the last blog I have been building some CR ballast wagons. These were built using my usual methods, styrene bodies, copperclad sub chassis to take the W irons. The outer pair are from the 1890 drawing, the middle one is a pre-diagram version from the photo. The drawing makes no mention of canvass covers for the axleboxes and without a reference photo I can’t tell whether they were so fitted. I added them to the pre -diagram wagon which did have them. I suppose if a photo ever comes up I can add them to the other two. What is significant from my point of view is that they are painted with acrylic paints. A bit of a learning curve involved but I think I am reasonably convinced by the result. Comments welcome. A couple of snaps of a short pway train. The ballast plough is a kitbash, bits of the cambrian kit combined with new sides and ends. I have a few other projects which might be occupying the bench for a while. Might even generate a separate blog for one of them .
    28 points
  4. All this replacement of lost images on previous blogs has made me think about gathering some favourite images from my layout project and dumping them in one blog entry, so here it is. A hotch-potch of photos from around the first baseboard which is almost complete. The layout is 4mm scale and track work EM gauge. I initially set it in 1844 when Bricklayers Arms was completed and opened to the public. However, it has now turned into 1845 as this allows for a little weathering and I don't have to leave everything looking too new. Apologies to those who have seen it all before but I thought a summary was due before moving on to the next baseboard which will be the massive goods shed and lots of wagon turntables, (I'm not sure I'm looking forward to that bit)! Thanks for looking. The backs of the houses at Greyhound Place The stables at the back of the cattle yard. The Rat catcher. The Tannery. A dispute over the chaff-cutting. Preparing to lime wash a new cattle wagon. Delivery of a prize bull. Mr Rolls is late for work.
    24 points
  5. Last year I needed some styrene sections and as it happened the only place with stock was Hattons. Oh well. Anyway having ordered the stuff I needed I had a look at the pre-owned stuff. Just for fun, honest. Anyway I saw a Hornby generic 4 wheel NBR brake which had been dropped. The end was well bashed, buffers and couplings broken, the whole thing bent, body off. But all the bits had been put in the box and it was a tenner. Add to basket. But why ? A lot has been said about these coaches but I didn’t want to comment until I had a chance to break one myself. Having someone else break it for me and then selling it to me for less than a third of full price seemed a good idea. So it arrived, I had a look at it, harumpfed a bit, put the bits back in the box and left it to fester. During the last month I have made some wagons. They are at the painting stage and I want them in a bit of a faded red lead colour. My usual method for this is humbrol 100 with a spot of 61 flesh mixed in to fade it pinkish. I opened a tin of 100, it was a solid colour. Um nope, it was just solid. So I opened my last new tin. Sludge, completely useless. This resulted in me going through all my enamels. Out of 80 tins I threw 40 away as unusable. Of course they were all the most recent and most useful ones, some tins dating back to the 1970s were perfectly ok, if i ever go back to making kits of ww2 aircraft. Now much has been said on rmweb about the decline of enamels and the subsequent withdrawal of many. So bite the bullet time, I shall have to learn how to paint with acrylics. Clearly this is two pronged experiment. Mess about with a generic coach and learn a bit about acrylics. So how did it turn out ? Perhaps I should have taken some progress pics, but I guess you will have seen similar. Anyway, chop a couple of panels out, shorten floor, weight and chassis to suit. Make proper footboards, add sprung buffers, safety chains, oil lamps, end steps, handrails, sensible door handles, lamp brackets, adjust brakes, reduce wheel flanges and adjust to my EM, chop off the huge coupling pockets and fit mag ajs and a CR number plate. I think I can justify this under rule 2, vaguely plausible. The Caley inherited all sorts from absorbed railways. So this is a bit of stock from perhaps the Scottish central now being used as a tool /riding brake by the pw department. Any other nebulous excuses gladly accepted….
    22 points
  6. Afternoon all, Back last night from a wonderful day spent in Derby at the 2mmFS Diamond Jubilee event. Could only stay one day as had pre commitments back in London but am so glad I went. Great to see old faces, friends, meet new ones, chat 2mm stuff with people and of course have a curry and a few beers So the final post on the diorama takes us up to the completion and it was down to the wire…that means planting trees in the hotel room at Derby Conference Centre the night before! Whilst work continued on scenery in the evenings, at work I assembled the acrylic case in the studio workshop. This was then transported home in a foamboard storage box which would be used to carry the completed model. Assembling box and protective layers… At home the track was reballasted using dry lay this time and dribbling on Kleer using a pipette - this worked very well and may be my new method. Foliage was added around the base of the piers to help bed them in the grass. The plinth was then faced in very thin wood veneer (maple I think) and this was also added as a 50mm band to the top of the case to conceal the lighting. The original plan to reuse the IKEA lights was scrapped as I could only find one so instead a pack of 3 battery LED lights were found on Amazon which were remote controlled and also offered warm light or cool light. The lights were attached to a white card base to help reflect light back down. The case was assembled and I left for Derby with a small box of tools and scenics. The trees could not be planted as could not find my drill bits in the box since moving apartment Luckily I stumbled upon a Wickes 5 minutes from Derby Conference Centre hence the trees were drilled and planted in the hotel room. Here’s how the final diorama looked at the show… And a few photos back home… Have included options with the cool light and warm light as people were divided yesterday on what worked best. To summarise, it’s been great to get back and do some modelling and the event provided an excuse for me with a deadline. A few things on the to do list include; redo the balustrade etch (had to leave the small closure pieces out as they did not fit) clean the acrylic case with T-Cut and also fix the static grass. The latter being a product of the lid removal seems to attract the loose fibres to stick to the inside of the case. As always, comments welcome, Pete
    20 points
  7. Well, having restored the lost images to my blog about the Rennie loco project I now realise that I've done more than I thought and this deserves an update. Croydon is now complete although the above image shows that there are a few final jobs to do before it can enter traffic. There is a large black scar behind the drivers on both sides where i removed too much of the boiler/firebox to allow room for the driving wheels. This has now been filled, smoothed and painted to blend in. A couple of details have been completed on the tender too and it now runs very sweetly so I'm happy to call it a day on this one. The view from an 1840s drone (hot air balloon)! Satellite in OO has also been completed and is now with its new owner in London (where it belongs...?!). Interestingly, the compromises made to squeeze the boiler in between the OO gauge drivers don't seem to be too apparent once the splashers are in place. By request I didn't add the crew to this one but a driver and fireman have been supplied and can always be tacked in place for exhibition use. The sight of it trundling along without crew could be unsettling for those of a nervous disposition! I still have two more to build, my own Satellite in EM and Kentish Man which was similar but not quite the same. Worth doing....I think....!
    20 points
  8. Afternoon all, The blog title eludes to the inbound fast approaching, 2mmFS Diamond Jubilee event the weekend of 18/19th June in Derby - rescheduled from the original date due to COVID. I shall be visiting as a punter but wanted to bring something to the occasion as per the last one, the Golden Jubilee which was held in Oxford and I flew back from Barcelona for it. At that one I showed a small scale model of my proposed Coombe Junction - Moorswater layout which signalled my return to the hobby after a 20 year break and launched me from N to 2mmFS. Fast forward 10+ years and I have since returned from BCN to live in the UK again, the layout unfortunately had to be scrapped due to downsizing of space and also last month I moved apartments. Whilst sorting through boxes as part of the move I found two bubbled wrapped extracts from the original layout - part of the clay dries buildings and the slice of Moorswater viaduct. The viaduct was in three pieces, top and two legs and I had the idea during this BH break to perhaps reassemble the diorama that I built and entered into the RMWeb 2011 challenge competition. Looking back I was pleased to recall I had come 3rd overall, which I had forgotten. So my idea is to recreate the diorama again but this time finish it off with the handrail etches that Steve ‘Pixie’ Nicholls of this Parish kindly did for me all those years ago but arrived in the post due past the competition deadline. I am also going to redo and simplify the base and possibly make a perspex box enclosure…studio model shop permitting I have just under two weeks to complete this as I am travelling up to Derby the Friday afternoon before the event. I also need to contact John, the exhibition organiser and see if there is a spare place to display it…otherwise I will bring it and keep it in the car boot should anyone want to have a look at it! Here’s how the original one ended up back in 2011… The original featured a back scene, built in lighting fascia and also a cheeky stock box at the base For this model, the back scene and the fascia will be omitted. I was always unsure about what height the back scene should terminate at, as essentially this was a test piece for my CJM layout which had a backscene of approximately 300mm high. So firstly the base was set out and again, this was based on the dimensions of an IKEA Lack shelf which many of my layouts use. 300mm wide x 260mm depth. I contemplated getting the mini IKEA Lack of those dims but the Perspex case idea scuppered that. Mapped out on the base… Next up is Pixies incredible fine etches…which will finally get used. The contours were then mapped out in card and foamboard off cuts and glued in with PVA glue. Then this morning the base was covered with a layer of Sculptamold. Lovely stuff and easy to work with, even after 8+ years, as most of my layouts tend to be quite urban. This will be left to dry for a few days before getting a light sand and a coating of burnt umber paint prior to grass application. That’s all for now folks - as always, comments welcomed… Pete
    17 points
  9. Evening all, As the deadline approaches to the DJ 2mmFS weekend, I took the opportunity this weekend, aside from chores to make some more progress. First up the base was given a good coat of burnt umber acrylic paint to cover the white. This was followed by a first coat of ballast to the track which had been first sprayed brown in the model shop spray booth. Also the balustrade etch was given a coat of Matt black spray. After much deliberation on how to do the ballast I opted for the neat pva applied with a small paint brush and then ballast sprinkled as I worked in small sections. Am not sure why I moved away from my usual method of dry lay and soaking as I will need to go back and infill in quite a few places. For this I might dry lay and use some Kleer liquid I have. I then tackled the static grass. First coat used pva applied with a brush and 2mm fibres. It’s been a while since I did this as most of my layouts are urban grot so I had a quick refresher of a Woodland Scenics video. I had previously purchased a can of layering spray so this was then applied and then various mixes added including some burnt grass. I then followed up with 4.5mm and 6mm fibres, flattening some areas with the fingers as suggested on the video. In between this I also started to try to assemble the balustrade etch. This proved more tricky than first thought and it may need to be redone in the future with more emphasis on doubling up where the folds need to be. Also in tandem, thoughts on the lighting and acrylic case. The acrylic was drawn in CAD and the pieces cut ready for assembly tomorrow at work. The base will have a thin timber veneer applied as well as at the top which will screen the led lighting. Various options are being considered for this too. A few sketches of the thinking undertaken onthe train to work. Here’s the current state of play with some stock posed… Still lots to do including planting the trees which I previously removed and stored for reuse one day…wasn’t anticipating it would be on this diorama! As always, comments welcomed. Pete
    14 points
  10. Following the near completion of the Royal Scot, I have been working on the Ivatt Class 2 2-6-2 tank which has been on and off for literally years. Mods and detailing of the body has come quite a long way, though there is still more to do. However, this loco and the Black 5 model have reached the point where the chassis have had the basic painting done and the chassis both re-assembled. Further weathering will be required to give some variation and blend with the weathered bodies, some time in the future. I'm holding off fully finishing these locos as I want to have them part dis-assembled for my loco construction demo at this years Scaleforum. Here are the locos in their current condition. Dave.
    14 points
  11. Something of a summary of progress on various fronts. Thorpe's Trial & Error continues. Work on the little warehouse building (Bricks & Mortar) continues and has been 'on the bench' today (well, this afternoon as domestic duties took up the morning). The little warehouse drops down behind the viaduct but the drawing below is the 'master' drawing and made up of many layers, mostly transparent, so the whole facade shows up here where, for real, it does not. So the drawing is always work in progress, constantly revised and updated and has now reached 'S' in the revision alphabet, sub-revision b. The drawing was started 2 Jan 2018. The left hand end is the terminus or town end; the right hand end is a plate girder bridge and the faint line cutting it in two marks the end of the workshop/railway room: the bridge carries the layout into the car-port type structure (covered over but not enclosed) and will be drop-in so that the workshop can be secured with a lockable hatch and operated as a shunting layout in cold weather. The half-a-bridge inside the workshop will be replaced with a very short traverser to allow a tank engine to run round - parts for that are ordered and, I'm told, on the way (thanks @Mikkel for the tip about linear rails). ` A couple of photos of the layout, taken in poor light in order to show up the signal lighting. They look too bright in the pictures but can be controlled with a set of tiny variable resistors in the electrical department. The drawings for the signal box are completed (and it appears in the drawing above) and having tackled brickwork for the little warehouse, I will probably make a start on the box in a week or two. One thing I hadn't expected is the sensitvity of the signal mechanisms (above baseboard) to changes in temperature - it was 22 degrees today in the w'shop. Just as soon as I adjust them to level on the servos when set 'on', the temp changes 10 degrees and they aren't level again. The ringed starter - showing green - allows a movement from the goods road to the Up Branch line. The three doll bracket in the middle is the Up Branch starter from Road No 1, the starter to Up Branch from Road No 2 and backing from Road No 2 on the Down Branch line. By the signal box, there is the Up Branch starter from Road No 3 (5' arm due to its height), backing signal for Road No 3 to the Down Branch and the small signal on the right controls entry to the Goods Yard. In the distance, there are the Down Branch home signals for Roads 2 and 3 (2 doll bracket) and a ringed signal controlling exit from the Goods Yard to Road No 3. I have yet to make a start on ground signals....but they are planned. Another view of the country end. The left hand track terminates in a stop block. The other three tracks will exit through the (newly refurbished) hatch. It may seem counter-intuitive to place a long plate girder bridge where one might have put a tunnel or an overbridge as an exit but I think there's enough space around it to make it work and having what is effectively a lift out section solves the security/weather questions. Over a few months, I've been working on an alphabet. It's based on a variety of sources, none of them quite the same - so this alphabet is another variant. It all needs more work but is usable in its present form although I still need a 'V' and a 'Y' but won't bother with 'X' or 'Z' (unless you want Devizes). As these are drawn letter shapes, they can be used to make up signage - they are not a "font". Many years ago, as comic relief from A levels, I studied typography at evening classes and have retained an interest in it (see also Thorpe's Trial & Error). There is so much signage associated with railways and stations, I couldn't imagine not having the capability of turning it out here. Notice how different black out of white is compared with white out of black - the latter being the more usual arrangement. The letter shapes, sizes and spacing are identical in each. I trust two full stops in GWR is correct for 1927. And lastly, this one for one of the arches in the viaduct. It's pretty much a copy of the cover of a book of 1920s French postcards (no, not that kind, actually scenic views of Cannes) so is authentically early Deco and something I can probably paint, using the transfer method I used for 'Thorpe'.
    13 points
  12. Hold on to your socks - this is going to be a lengthy one! (In fact it's so long, I've now split it into 2 separate posts - the next will be up soon...) I think it's fair to say that you are all long overdue an update on Coastguard Creek. Due to other commitments, no real progress has been made since the last post way back in March 2021; almost 15 months ago! If anything, things went backwards for quite a while, as I kept finding more and more inspiring locations that I really wanted to model, and I couldn't stop myself from sketching ideas! I've probably gone through hundreds of sketches and ideas since this layouts' inception. The vast majority of which I was so focused on what I wanted each scene to look like, that I stopped thinking about the practicalities in terms of turning them into a manageable layout. Being sketches, it of course also means that they are far too optimistic in terms of fitting everything in in the space available. Nethertheless, rather than them never be seen, I'm posting the sketches that are most complete; in order to help show the sort of layout I'm looking to build, and also in the hope that perhaps someone might have a sensible suggestion or two! What follows are just some (yes, really!) of the sketches I've drawn... Note: I have retrospectively numbered the sketches so that you (and I) can use these numbers for reference when talking about them from now on. One such early 'what-if' scenario is seen below: Above: (CC0) A sketch of what I imagine Lepe might've looked like with a rudimentary station built from local buff Exbury brick and wood. Note the (relocated) D-Day embarkation hard in the right foreground. In reality, the planned station would've been further to the right, and at 90 degrees or so to that shown above; actually terminating on a 470 yard south-easterly pier into the Solent! Above: (CC1) The first redesign came soon after my second blog entry about the layout, when someone reminded me about Eling Tide Mill. I just had to fit this on the original layout plan, so at first it was sqeezed into the position shown here. Note that it is drawn far too small on the plan on the left, so it would actually need more room; which brings us onto the next sketch... Above: (CC2) As it felt a little too 'squeezed', I then shifted things around a fair bit. The result is a rather strange trackplan, with two sidings ending on the beach that have no real use! I do like the new position of the tide mill and pub, though! I then tried, rather than creating a fictional location, to 'imagineer' a line to Lepe, using the once-planned route of going via the Dark Water Valley; modifying the original plans and history, and adding in locations from other areas of the New Forest and beyond. This made for an interesting exercise, but the topography meant that in model form it would be difficult to produce, as the creek section (where all the shunting would take place in my world) would not only be behind the 'main' running line, but also beyond the creek itself. This would result in both an incredibly wide board, and also be hard to see - not least because of the escarpment on the nearside edge. It would've been a cool concept looking up the Dark Water Valley (it reminds me of the 'Stealth Bomber' layout, Crumley & Little Wickhill), but it would also take up too much space: Above: (CC3) Starting with the right-hand image, annotating a Google Maps screenshot shows one possible route that the real railway might've taken (I should've coloured the line to make it obvious, but it runs from the hashed line (demolished pier) at the bottom, and curves left, then back to the right and around to the top middle). To fit in a much-desired bridge across Dark Water, I changed things around until I came up with the sketch on the left. Note that it was planned to make the shipyard board able to be removed from this large layout, and have the traverser fiddle yard split into two to service each end for exhibitions. This would, however, mean a different backscene would be required for exhibitions. Note that the hill on the right (where it says 'The Dark Water Valley') would severely limit viewing not only of the boatyard, but also the mill, the adjacent halt, and also the wharf with the dual sidings on board 2. Looking back, the only way it would work (at least in terms of being able to see everything) would be to widen the estuary and bridge area, and narrow the scene towards the fiddle yard. That would, however, create a much sharper curve for the 'main' line. Above: (CC4) At some point, things took a turn, and I designed a few variants of this multi-phase plan. It shows two modules back-to-back, with a cassette fiddle yard. Not a horrendous plan in terms of space required, but it would be a nightmare to exhibit! I also had a version whereby it was turned into a roundy roundy; with the rearmost siding in the shipyard joining up, via a cutting, with the station at the top. The more I look at it, the more I like the plan - and it does make the best use of the space out of all the designs (I think). I just don't think the double sided layout is a particularly easy thing to exhibit, particularly as action will only ever be happening on one side at a time. Above: (CC5) I then reverted back to CC2, albeit now on two (more manageable) boards. However, the creek and the coastline are at too similar an angle. I also feel like operation-wise it wouldn't be that fun, and it doesn't really look very prototypical; I don't like the way the boat yard sidings come straight off the loop.. Above: (CC6) This whale-shaped layout(!) is definitely a bit 'off'. I know I like unusual board shapes, but this takes the micky! The reason for it was to try and angle the coast away from the creek, although I'm not sure I quite succeeded. There's definitely more of a focus on scenery here than on operation. For some reason I didn't include a board join; it would likely be in a similar place - with the concrete breakwater marking the join, bottom middle. The fact that there are only two sidings to shunt now makes this a comparatively dull layout. Note the tidal road on the far left - this is inspired by Bosham Quay. Above: (CC7) A refinement of the 'whale' idea was this plan. At last, I'm starting to try to set the angle of the creek perpendicular (or near enough) to the coast. The trackplan is still quite simple and a bit clumsy; any passenger service would seriously put a spanner in shunting maneouvres, and there are still only two sidings! The random double creek is also a bit bizarre, and a waste of space. Above: (CC8) A further variation. Operation is still hampered by any potential passenger services, and the tide mill at the top is not in a very suitable spot; it's a bit crammed-in. Again, we seem to have a double creek going on, with the nearest one being far too close to the coast to be so muddy! Above: (CC9) A bit of shifting around leaves the tide mill in a much better spot, but we still have a double creek going on; again with the bottom one not really quite right. It might've been OK if the beach was more 'vertical' as we look at the plan, and if we couldn't see the end of the breakwater. A loco shed has also randomly appeared at the back again. The mill wharf siding is at least accessed via its own headshunt, but that only leaves two sidings to shunt. Above: (CC10) I became quite interested with the thought of producing a triangular layout (I think inspired by a dockyard design in Paul Lunn's book of micro layouts (I forget its proper title)). I still quite like this concept, but I feel that too much of the layout, when photographing/viewing, would not have the backscene in the background. That's a dealbreaker for me! Otherwise, it's certainly an interesting layout; both in terms of operation and scenic potential. Note the coal yard at the bottom, with it's ridiculously short headshunt! Another problem is that I would imagine this would be a huge layout... Above: (CC11) I then became, for some considerable time, obsessed with producing a roundy-roundy. These are still some of my favourite designs (the only real difference between the two here is an extra siding in the boat yard), but I just feel it would take up too much space. That said, I liked the idea so much that I even built it in Train Simulator, and I think the idea certainly has a lot of appeal: Above: The initial version of this plan required that any loco running around its train at the platform would use the sharply curved line on the swing bridge. I later swapped things around, and turned the siding on the front left into a loco release headshunt (you'll see a glimpse of this later). Above: A really pleasing scene looking towards the platform, and further afield to the tidal mill in the background. The platform would likely be a spindly SR concrete precast halt, rather than of solid construction as shown here. Above: The Peckett runs around its train. Note the wooden crossing linking the end of the platform with the coaling area (barely visible on the left). A path would also go up the hill towards the phone box. Oh, and don't judge my signalling - I have no real clue if it's right or wrong! Above: My favourite scene of all is the road crossing adjacent to the tide mill, with it's little ground frame, and the road climbing up behind to the coastguard cottages. The road being framed by the two tall trees works well, too. Above: Building a virtual version allowed me to operate the layout. As a result, the model evolved as I found that certain things were either missing, or didn't quite work. The line in the foreground was added as somewhere to park the brake van prior to shunting. Above: The shipyard also evolved slightly, but all versions featured tight curves, as would be expected. The crossing above does seem a incredibly condensed - in reality, there would need to be more separation from the points to the crossing itself. It may well be that I would have to scratchbuild not just the crossing, but the points themselves; that would be a new challenge! P.S. the 16t mineral wagons were the only suitable rolling stock I could find. Above: A higher view showing the ridiculously condensed points of the crossing! Another problem I had with this plan is that I highly doubt that the railway would build a swing bridge just so that a boat can access 2 slipways - but I'd love to be proved wrong! Note the line at the top left curving sharply around the pub - that's the roundy-roundy aspect. For non lazy running, this would be used as a headshunt for the rightmost siding. The line going into the boatshed on the left also meets up with the fiddle yard. Those with beady eyes may note that the passing loop (top right) has had it's points swapped so that a 'main' line loco no longer has to run onto the tightly curved section on the swing bridge. Something that I think is missing is a lean-to engine shed for the yard shunter. Above: (CC12) I then realised the previous plans were all far too big, certainly if they were to be transported in my car, so I set about making a series of modules of the inland (creek) sections. I didn't feel that the coastal area would offer enough operating interest, nor fit in such a small footprint, although I did leave the Pitt's Mill Wharf module with an additional scenic exit, just in case. Anyway, these modules were all given tentative names based on local industries and placenames. As self-contained scenes, I think they could all look quite nice, but operating them together would prove challenging at exhibitions. On a personal level I'm not quite sure how I'd feel about seeing modules, which are technically individual scenes, running together as one layout. I really admire cameo layouts that form a standalone scene, but I couldn't imagine putting two together and it being particularly effective. I suppose the shorter the gap between them, the more effective it might be, whereas having large non-scenic gaps would ruin the effect somewhat. I've seen a few modular layouts online set up in the latter format with large (often black) bridges/fascias separating them. Without wishing to sound too critical, I don't think it really works unless the modules are vastly different in style/subject. My plan above was to soften/hide the gaps between modules by always having trees of similar style and colouring on every join; on both sides of the track. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this sort of set-up, purely out of curiousity! Personally, I'm not 100% convinced, but perhaps a '3D' sketch or model might persuade me otherwise... Above: (CC13) I then felt like I should give the coastal section another chance; coming up with this three board (but single backscene) design, with a fiddle yard wedged behind the middle board. To provide intrique, I moved the platform on the coastal board into the centre of the loop, with a walkway across the nearside track leading to a separate small station building/cafe set into the cliffside. I think this is quite a nice idea for a layout, but the fiddle yard looks pretty small, and the 'Leape' board would probably have to be split into two boards. I'm not quite sure about the station layout - I would think it would make far more sense to have the point that goes into the loop in the cutting (i.e. reverse the hand), rather than as shown; where the loco would need to swing sharply around to the coast, and thus the short branch line to the boatyard, rather than simply going straight back onto the 'main' branch. Above: (CC14) Taking the previous design, removing Leape, and adding a loop to the wharf board gives us a more compact design, although operation is more limited. It does however give room for a much larger fiddle yard (ignore the fact it says 'traverser' - it clearly isn't one; I forgot to remove the text when I copied it across!). Above: (CC15) My two favourite scenes are the shipyard and tidal mill, so I began to focus more heavily on these two areas; especially allowing the latter more room. I also wanted to add typical New Forest features like a ford (top right). I must admit, I really like this design, although the glaring problem is the lack of run-around loop. It would also likely have to be split into two boards. It's basically an inglenook (if you treat the rear loco shed headshunt as a third siding), so not hugely exciting to operate, but it could be worse. Above: (CC16) This is a rather simple alternative, this time mixing the mill with a halt and the brickworks. It's a cute scene, but operation is severely limited; with just one siding to shunt! I think I intended to add another module on the right (presumably the shipyard); that would certainly create a more interesting layout to operate, albeit one that is very long. It certainly gives off the rural branch line feel, and I like the snaking form of the trackwork. Above: (CC17) This wide triangular design was one of my favourites (hence why it received annotations and a title card), but it is far too big to be just one board as shown! I really like the flow and sight lines created by the tidal mill causeway and its pond; causing the line from the 'main' line to sweep around the latter. As this corner would otherwise be too sharp, note how a two further reversals are needed into the fiddle yard (lower track) in order to shunt two of the sidings! I suppose this is wildly unprototypical, and the stream is too narrow as depicted for it to make much sense (surely they would just have a point and a small bridge slightly further up the line that would directly lead to these sidings). Regardless, the shipyard is therefore a sort of inglenook; albeit with extra shunting required. Note that, rather wierdly, there are two run-around loops right next to one another at the top of the plan! The leftmost is there to serve the shipyard and jetty (i.e. freight), the right one solely serves the station. This is another design that I ended up recreating on Train Simulator, and then further developed: Above: After a few revisions, I came up with this simplified version. The main difference is that there's now only one passing loop. Having two didn't really look right, and worse still, the leftmost was disected by a road. That would cause traffic chaos whenever a local freight arrived! Another modification was to move one of the boatyard sidings (to provide more room for the headshunt, and also to avoid having too many sidings perpendicular to the baseboard edge. You'll note that there's now a random 'fork' (in yellow) surrounding the brickworks - that would be a (probably disused) narrow gauge line. One thing this plan is missing is a place to easily park the brake van - the siding by the mill could be used as such, but it would involve considerable shunting. Note that a promenade, a pier, and some beach huts have appeared! In reality, whilst I dislike half-relief buildings, there's no way I'd model the entire boat shed, as shown here. Above: If the ticket office looks familiar, it's because it's a copy of the one found on the I.O.W steam railway at Havenstreet (if you look closely, you'll also note that the running-in board says Havenstreet - I'm using assets from the IOW line expansion on Train Simulator). Names aside, whilst I was thinking more along the lines of a concrete precast platform (Stourpaine & Durweston style), I do love that ticket office design, and I'm also now thinking about the set-up at Havenstreet with the island platform as an interesting alternative. Anyway, note the (unpainted) beach huts on the right - I had to use garden sheds as I couldn't find the right asset/3D model! Up on the cliff (if you can call it that), as well as the coastguard cottages, we have a phone box and a bus shelter. You may just be able to tell that, because I'm shunting with a tiny 0-4-0, I can leave the brake van in the loco release - that's certainly one possibility, providing the siding in the foreground doesn't then become un-shuntable due to the smaller headshunt! Above: The slipway on the left is actually an embarkation hard leftover from the D-Day landing preparations some 10 years earlier. At strategic points along the New Forest coast and also in So'ton, many concrete slipways were built; including one at the real Lepe. Stone Point, to the east, also featured a colossal worksite; where huge floating concrete caissons were built and launched, 'fitted' in So'ton, and then towed across the Channel to provide a floating harbour for the invading forces. Along the roads in the area today, you can still see concrete laybys used to park up the military vehicles under the cover of trees, and away from spying enemies! Above: The lack of much in the way of passenger facilities can be explained mostly by the fact that in my (semi-)fictional history (which I will post at some point), the railway used to continue onto the pier on the right. One fateful night, as has often happened elsewhere, a vessel struck the pier in thick fog, causing irreperable damage. As the pier had been in decline for a number of years beforehand (due to competition from So'ton and Lymington and their ferry services), it was not deemed appropriate to rebuild the gap; so the rest of the pier was demolished. Equally, as there was no longer any possibility of running a ferry service, it was therefore not deemed that Leape would require anything more than a small halt and minimal facilities. Another deciding factor was the limited space available on the shorefront on which to locate the new station. Above: Below the chimney, we can see the ground frame (another I.O.W asset). I've assumed that this would only control the passing loop, crossing gates, and signal(s), and that all other points would be worked by hand. Note the brickworks peeking out behind the trees; this will be a copy of Bailey's Hard Brickworks, which still exists today (albeit as a holiday home, I believe). Above: The brickworks would be an imposing building, especially with its tall chimney; but by screening it with significant foliage, its dominance in the scene has been lessened and it starts to blend into the background. It helps that this, after all, is the New Forest - so one would expect there to be copious amounts of trees. That is certainly the case along the creeks (where the prototype sits), but it is actually the comparatively barren heathland that makes up the majority of the National Park. Still, luckily for me, that's something I don't need to worry about; as although the Dark Water valley is so-named because of the nutrient-rich run-off from the heath, the heath itself is some distance away - which means I don't have to worry about a lack of trees in the background. Above: Swinging to the left of the mill, and looking up the creek, we see the pub on the right, and the boat yard branch in front. The creek at this point on the layout is narrow (although I'd prefer it to be quite a lot wider), and the line crosses it via a small fixed girder bridge. The large boat shed can be seen in the background, with a lean-to loco shed in the middle distance for the resident shunter - note the locomotive hoist. Above: A view that shows a bit more of the boat yard. I really liked this angle looking up one of the sidings and the approach road, and seeing the glimpse of the pub in the distance. The winch shed (minus winch as, unsurprisingly, there isn't a suitable asset for that in-game) is to the left of the siding, with the office on the right. At the far left, we can see a brick stores building. Note the lamp post in front of it, and the use of corrugated metal for fencing elsewhere. There will also be a boat being worked on (perhaps in place of the brick store building), but again, there wasn't a suitable 3D model (and to be honest, I'm struggling to find a suitable 1:76 kit!). Above: Another neat view would be looking up the creek branch from the far left of the layout. Here we see a Peckett back up some wagons onto the coal wharf. Wait? What coal wharf you ask?... Above: ... this one! It's inspired by Dibles Wharf, So'ton - which a B4 tank named 'Corrall Queen' used to shunt. I would imagine the thing with the white railings would be a coal tipper, albeit a single, not a double one like at Dibles Wharf. This scene arose from not just looking at inspiring locations, but also wanting to add more variety to the freight. Above: Another interesting view is looking up the access road (that serves the shipyard and coal wharf) up to the mill and its causeway. I'm all about those sight lines! Above: A final screenshot shows an overview of the layout; hopefully showing how it all fits together. I must admit this is probably one of my favourite designs, but I believe it will be too big, and I worry about not being able to reach across. All the above might make it sound like I'm planning to build this plan, but in reality there are a lot of things to iron out! I still like the general concept, but the logistical issue of a plan this big means there is a lot to think about. Just to finish off this long entry, here's what this plan originally started as on Train Simulator before I went back and added the creek line at the back of the mill pond: ...the next blog entry will deal with further development, and also look at things from a more... practical standpoint! Stay tuned...
    12 points
  13. Hello all, I wanted to share the story behind two new locos I managed to pick up at this weekends’ Brockenhurst Model Railway Show. I was rifling through trays of old locomotives (as I do quite often) and came across a Bachmann GW ‘City’ and ‘Earl’ class. I’m guessing they were considered to be non runners as I paid £50 for the pair, thinking I would be able to spend some time buying replacement parts for them and returning them to working condition. Returning home, I went to test the pair and much to my surprise, they both worked as if they had just been taken out the box. Flawless. In fact, after I’d taken a paintbrush to them to clear up the thick layer of dust, it revealed a spotless finish with no obvious marks or scratches. The only issue is the Earl has a set of con rods missing, which I’m sure I can pick up somewhere. As you can see, apart from the missing connecting rods on the ‘Earl,’ they’re practically brand new, and for just £25 each. So for those of you who complain that model railways are too expensive now, yes I agree in some cases they are. But sometimes, you just have to look underneath that Triang loco, and you might uncover an absolute gem, or in this case, two!
    9 points
  14. Fun Town - Ice Cream Wagon MKII : Continuing with the crazy idea of building a few animated wagon's that would run on DCC for Fun Town's market. Determined to have an animated figure in this build, so I went for a tea drinking ice cream seller that also rotated his head as he eyed up potential customers. Things didn't turn out quite as expected, but the final result aint to bad. Thanks for Looking............
    7 points
  15. Last blog entry, I shared a generous serving of the hundreds of sketches that I've drawn for Coastguard Creek. There will be a few more here, but this time I'd like to focus on how important it can be when layout planning to stop sketching and think logically for a moment! Let me explain... ...after months of relatively fruitless sketching, on New Years Eve I took a step back and remembered my mantra (which came about after numerous failed projects) of 'design for the space you have, not the space you want'. That restriction really helped with focusing my ideas, as per CC12, but even that didn't last long! It wasn't long before I went back to getting carried away with sketches of layouts that were too large (as documented last entry). Fast forward to now, June 2022, and recent visits to exhibitions (in particular the RMweb Members Day) inspired me to find whatever time I could scrounge to work on ideas for Coastguard Creek. Taking Sandy Shores to two exhibitions made me realise, yet again, that I should remain realistic about what I can achieve given my situation in terms of storage and transportation - and base any plans around that! We'll come to the specifics of that in a bit, but before diving into designing, I thought it important to learn from past mistakes... ...the problems with my past layouts Looking at the original plan for Coastguard Creek with fresh eyes brought up some now-obvious problems. Aside from wanting more from the layout, I realised that it has the exact same problems as most of my past layouts (Sandy Shores included); firstly, the station/halt is almost immediately after the scenic exit, and secondly, the sidings do not have associated industries. Above: In an effort to squeeze everything onto one board, too many compromises were made in the original plan. Note how, just like Sandy Shores, any passenger train at the halt would block off potential freight operations - so a passenger train would have to arrive and depart before the freight could come. In the real world, such a branch would probably be one-engine-in-steam anyway, but on a model railway that's an incredibly boring way to operate a layout! Stations/passenger traffic Having a station right after the train joins the scenic section means that running passenger trains is very boring - almost pointless. My placement of stations has mostly been determined by the shortness of my layouts, and the need to have long headshunts to be able to back freight into sidings; that naturally means the station gets pushed close to the scenic exit to make enough room. To be fair, passenger trains don't interest me nearly as much as freight (I had only one old Bachmann carriage in OO gauge, until a recent purchase where it will be replaced by one newer Hornby offering!), but if there's a platform (and there will be - I love halts), it might as well be seen and used. Above: Sandy Shores' halt is far too close to the scenic exit, and thanks to the loco shed, can be hard to see. Running passenger trains is almost pointless, and indeed I rarely run them! Freight So, if freight is thus the main operational point of my layouts, why then do I always end up with generic sidings that result in completely random shuffling of wagons? Even on Sandy Shores, there is no industry associated with either siding. Taking a step back, I realised that this was a problem with my original plan for Coastguard Creek - none of the sidings have a particular use, although I suppose you could say that the boatyard does have its own siding; albeit on the hidden track inside the building! Above: A particularly cruel image of Calshot MKII at the Brockenhurst exhibition in 2010! Aside from the lack of backscene in this shot (although to be fair this was taken from the fiddle yard), it's the lack of any shunting purpose that I'm trying to draw attention to here. None of the wagons have loads, and none of the sidings really serve any industry or pupose. The only thing useful in terms of freight facilities is the very short loading platform just visible at the back left. Backscenes As shown above, one of my biggest concerns is actually what to do with backscenes. I prefer tall, one piece backscenes - which is why whenever I exhibit Sandy Shores I go to the extreme effort of re-attaching the backscene with Blue Tac to its (single hardboard) board. It's a very inconvenient set-up, and not very neat along the edges, but I just can't see a way around it - because I need to keep the paper backscene safe, so it must be removed and put into its tube for storage/transportation. Failure to do this has, in the past, resulted in small rips or tears. A PVC vinyl backscene (like you'd find with outside banners) would be more durable, but it would be too shiny, and hard to hang perfectly. Ideally, I'd be able to fasten the paper backscene with adhesive-backed magnetic strips. I did consider this for Sandy Shores, but I just don't think there is enough clearance, and I'm not sure if that would result in visible horizontal banding from the front. The backscene must also surround the scene in such a way that from most angles it would fill the frame (as looking at the scene through a camera). Old AGWI Rd was an awesome design in terms of a layout theme and shape, but impossible to fit a backscene to; not least because it wouldn't be visible from many angles! Above: Old AGWI Rd. was a classic example of forgetting about the importance of backscenes. No matter how you set-up a backscene, it would never be able to be seen in every normal viewing point - one of the 'wings' (the far one - a jetty board) would've been left without one, with the backscene only on the near edge of the closest boards. This means views of the jetty would likely look pretty bad on camera! Making the layout too big! Above: My biggest fail in my model railway past was The Old Road. An exciting layout, with a fair amount of potential, but look at the bloody size of it! Don't laugh, but it took me until setting it up outside to realise that I had nowhere to set up more than two boards at a time inside. Whilst I did build a few buildings, the boards remained in my tiny shed, and never again worked on. When the shed needed to be demolished, the boards went with it; the softwood battens re-used for Old AGWI Rd, until that also met it's demise (again, because it was too big to set-up in the house)! See a recurring theme here?! The only layouts that I've built that have been a 'success' are layouts with only one board; with any later extensions always causing the layouts eventual demise. That says to me that I should build a small layout that will be fun to operate and include everything I would like from the outset, and that should never need to be extended. Operational lessons learnt from recent shows I enjoy building scenery more than operating, but as I like to exhibit my layouts there's got to be a balance somewhere. I've also recently heard from quite a few people how much they enjoy having a layout permanently (and conveniently) set-up at home to shunt wagons for an hour or so every now and then - that sounds like a great idea to me! Looking at my current plans, and how they would be run (should they be built), has made me look at things a little differently. As mentioned earlier, this has become particularly obvious having exhibited Sandy Shores recently at both Narrow Gauge South, and the SSWRS show in Wilton. 1) Something should always be moving On a basic level, I found that if nothing moves on the layout within 20 seconds or so, a good number of people will just move on. That said, with Sandy Shores at SSWRS, I did become more proficient at swapping locos from the shed to mitigate the downtime whilst preparing the next train in the fiddle yard. Above: Whilst Sandy Shores does have uncoupling magnets, they have not proved successful. Thankfully, most visitors seem to enjoy watching the intricacies of manual shunting! Something surprising to me, however, was that despite there being only two sidings, people seemed to really enjoy watching me shunt wagons. Especially, much to my surprise, the intricacies of uncoupling wagons by hand. All of this has upped both my interest in operating, and my desire to reduce downtime/increase shunting maneouvres. OK, so some people commented on 'the hand of god', but the vast majority of people actually preferred the interactivity of me manually uncoupling. You'll never please everyone! 2) Fiddle yards should be convenient and quick to use It has also made me realise that fiddle yards/off-stage areas must be easy to use - the faff of lining up Sandy Shores' turntable by hand/sight is a problem not just in terms of time wasted, but also the frequent derailments resulting from inaccurate alignment: I also ran into problems with not having quite enough space; the folding stock tray beneath is too far to be useful for it's intended purpose (although it's great for holding cups of tea and cake), and I found that I kept knocking the wagons off the turntable tracks due to both the narrow clearance between the tracks, and the lightweight nature of the wagons (the latter of which was mostly dealt with by adding 'Liquid Gravity' from Deluxe Materials). Swapping wagons to make up different trains is also somewhat fiddly. 3) Shunt like you mean it! Despite having no real sequence of shunting on Sandy Shores, I have learnt that one way to alleviate boredom is to set a train up in the fiddleyard that has a random mix of wagons in a random order, bring them onto the scenic side, and then try to shunt those wagons into the two sidings so that they are in a more uniform order. I suppose the next step up would be a card system (as per Michael Campbell's Loctern Quay). As a further step up from that, Coastguard Creek will feature more obvious industries, and associated sidings; therefore hopefully providing opportunities for more intentional freight movements (and potentially quite challenging ones)! Something I also realised is that I don't have a brake van on Sandy Shores - another aspect which will also add a small level of complexity to operations. To be fair, I did consider this in later plans for Coastguard Creek; thus including a short siding from the run-around loop(s) to hold a brake van. 4) Know the limits of one-man operation Perhaps the biggest lesson I've taken away (which I should've done many years ago considering I've been exhibiting my layouts now for over 10 years!) is that an exhibition (or exhibitable) layout should be designed to be run by the number of people you expect to have with you at shows. In my case, just me! As I'm always solo, it also means that, should I be fortunate (it's happened once) to have someone operate my layout for an hour so, that it should be easy for them; even if they have little experience. When you've exhibited solo for so long, you forget the quirks that your layout has! This either has to be written down and explained to the new operator, or needs to be designed out/retroactively fixed. Above: Sandy Shores was designed from the outset to fit in my little car. OK, so it's not very neat, but it does work! The great thing about this layout is that you don't need a single tool to assemble/disassemble it. The limits of one-man operation also extend to operational complexity, and also the size of the layout and ease of assembly/disassembly. I think I struck a good balance with Sandy Shores (especially because it requires no tools to put together), but in terms of any new layouts, this always has to be a major factor in their design. There's no use building a layout with more than one scenic section, or more than one fiddle yard as I'll only be able to operate one at a time! Similarly, if the layout is too big, I won't be able to see what's going on at the other end. 5) Interactivity with the public Whilst at the SSWRS show, a layout across from me had what I can only describe as 'vibrating chickens' in a farm yard; the kids (and grown ups) loved it! It made me think that although I put a lot of thought into little cameos, I've never taken the initiative to make them more of a focus for visitors. I don't just mean in terms of animations, but also making lists for visitors to try and encourage them to look for the details. I know this has proved very popular on other layouts, but I don't know why I hadn't considered it before! A second thing I would love to try is, as I just hinted at, animations. Though I'm thinking less about quirky things like vibrating chickens, and more about more... practical applications. Back at the RMweb SWAG do, I was fortunate enough to operate the exquisite Bridport Town. Aside from the fact that I can't remember the last time I operated someone elses layout, what struck me was the added interest that the working signals and level crossing gates added. Not only was it fun, but it also added operational complexity! Something I'm dying to add on Coastguard Creek is a working swing bridge (as well as perhaps working crossing gates and semaphore signals). I'd also love to model a working travelling steam crane, but I think that is far beyond my skill level! Above: Bridport Town - Dave Taylor's ( @DLT's ) masterpiece! The crossing gate is activated by a switch, which opens the four gates in turn. Until the crossing is open to rail traffic, the fiddle yard (out of shot to the left) is not electrically powered. Of course, this doesn't mean you can't cause havoc on the scenic side, but it's a neat safety feature, and thankfully I did manage to avoid any gate incidents when operating it at the SWAG do. As mentioned, all the signals also work; providing a really fun aspect to the operation (assuming you remember to change and reset them!). Something I would also like to explore further are removable wagon loads. All the flat wagons on Sandy Shores have removable loads, but these are only swapped out in the fiddle yard; so wagons arrive to the scenic side full, and leave full. This doesn't make sense in a real-world scenario, so if possible, I'd like to have some way of emptying wagons before they reach the fiddle yard on the new layout. The easiest way would be to have one siding going into a building, where the loads can be removed behind-the-scenes, and the empties shunted back out to another siding, and eventually to the fiddle yard for refilling. A more complex example would involve unloading and loading on the scenic side via a crane, overhead gantry, conveyor, hopper, tipper, or any other method. As a man of little mechanical experience, that would be a challenge, but captivating to the audience if pulled off effectively. Back to basics... With those lessons learnt, and with new ideas to think about, let's set some ground rules; as well as noting any restrictions that will come into play. Transport Perhaps the biggest restriction is that my current car is very small! Assuming I won't be upgrading any time soon (and also assuming I won't be able to use my Dad's van), I shall have to design whatever is to be exhibited to fit in the limited space available in my current car. An add-on fiddle yard would be acceptable provided it is not too deep, but I doubt there is room for a second scenic board; especially given my penchant for tall backscenes. Here's why: The absolute maximum size I can fit in my car is a 1.4m x 0.9m board (tapering to 0.6m on one end) - assuming that it's overall height is no more than 0.4m. The height restrictions (as shown on the left hand sketch) are in place because the rear of the car obviously slopes - thus the taller/higher-up a board is, the shorter it has to be. In order to fit (stack) a second board, board length would probably have to be reduced to 1.2m (assuming they can be stacked to be no taller than 0.6m - which is unlikely unless I make the backscene removable). The boot 'lip'/seal intrudes on the overall width - bringing it down from 1m to a maximum of 0.9m as shown. To further complicate things, due to curves, there is only a 0.7m long flat section at the bottom, so the boards would need to be lifted by 15cm on top of the 15cm of the lip itself to fit the full 0.9m width - thus a fake floor would likely be beneficial, unless there are boxes that the layout can be stacked on top of. Operating I have always exhibited on my own - aside from the usual problems this brings, it also means that I am in charge of operating the entire layout, including the fiddle yard. Thus the latter should be simple and quick to use and marshal trains. As I prefer tall backscenes, this also means that I need to be able to see the entire layout from one spot (at the front or side), and that operation should be flexible enough, as it is with Sandy Shores, to allow multiple trains to be operated on one board via the use of well-placed isolating sections. In some previous designs, I had a fiddle yard sandwiched between two scenic modules. This looked great in principle, until I realised that I could only operate one module at a time! The breakthrough? A layout of two 'halves'... With more and more scenic ideas, I completely rethought how the layout would be set up. At a basic level, there were four ways to approach this layout: As a portable single board layout (as per the original plan) As a portable multi-board layout (like most exhibition layouts) As a series of small/micro portable independent (i.e with their own frame/backscene) but connectable modules As a semi-permanent home layout, with an additional module (or two) to take to exhibitions No. 1 is obviously the most convenient because it is a self-contained unit, but it would be impossible to fit every scene in that I have in mind; especially given the size limitation of my tiny car! No. 2 is the more standard approach to layout building, but does require increased wiring and joins in the backscene. There is a danger that this would also result in a layout too large to exhibit alone, and too large to fit in my car. No. 3 solves the backscene problem from No. 2, but will create others; most notably that each module would probably need its own control panel or flying leads, and it would also be hard to operate such connected modules by one person because you can only see one module at a time. That also means that only one module will have something happening on it at a time. No. 4 is probably a good half-way house between all the options - it seems like the best of both worlds, with the only problem being that I will likely only ever be able to share the home portion through the medium of photos/video, and not at exhibitions. Looking at all the sketches proves that there are just too many inspirational locations to fit them on a layout that will be able to be exhibited by one person (i.e. me!). No. 4 therefore looks like the most suitable option, and thanks to a tidy up of my studio in August, an entire shelf could be cleared; creating the opportunity for a small cameo layout/module to fit in the space, which would thus also become... ...the exhibition layout Whilst a lot of the scenes would lend themselves to becoming a micro layout in their own right (as shown with the 3-module idea, (CC12)), it's the boatyard that stood out for me as being the most suitable candidate; especially given the amount of shunting potential and variety in wagon loads. For now at least, I have given this the name 'Brambles Boatyard' - after the name of a treacherous sandbar in the Solent. (Until this very moment, I got confused with the Shambles, which is a sand and shingle bank near the Isle of Portland - so I have since corrected and renamed this layout - although some of the sketches below still show the wrong name!) Ahem, anyway... the Brambles Bank has caught out many a ship; from small vessels, to colossal modern ships. More fascinating though is that a cricket match is held on it once a year at low tide! I was fortunate enough to witness this in 2016 on my day trip to the IoW Steam Railway: Above: A group of brave souls playing cricket in the middle of the Solent on the Bramble bank sandbar at low tide! A most bewildering and amusing sight, I must admit. I don't think you could find anything more British if you tried! And no, I won't be modelling it. Anyway, sorry, I got a little side-tracked there. Here's the shelf in question... Above: The shelf is approximately 98cm long, 48cm deep, and 40cm tall. This is an early mock-up from quite a while ago; using old buildings from Calshot MKII, The Old Road, and Old AGWI Rd (now that all those layouts, alas, have been broken up). It does however prove that the shelf is big enough to fit a self-contained layout on, although, a bit of extra length would be helpful to enable a proper headshunt, so... Above: (CC18) By, quite literally, thinking 'outside the box', we can both expand the scenic and operating potential. Needless to say, this is just a freehand sketch, so it's likely to be wildly optimistic, but it does show developments of the earlier mock up. The general scene I'd like to aim for includes; a large half-relief boat shed, a lean-to loco shed for the Ruston 48DS (or alternatively, a siding disappearing into a shed), a winch shed with slipway, a small boat 'high and dry' being worked on, a store/yard office, a half-sunken barge, a small brick gatehouse, and possibly a derrick crane. Note that angling the exit track (compared to the mock-up) means that I can add a fiddle stick/headshunt and actually operate the layout in its home, and thus without having to move it. That said, a cassette system or compact sector plate would be more useful. Either way, a tiny extension sticking out would also make the most of the 1.2m/4ft limit length that my car stipulates, and being at an angle, would allow for a significantly longer headshunt than would otherwise be possible. Remember, I also have 1m/3.2ft to play with in terms of width in the car; that's over twice the shelf width! Thus, whilst the scheme on the right (with it's passing loop and rear access to the boat shed track) probably won't fit in the space, a cleverly-planned extension designed from the outset might make it feasible at exhibitions. The hard bit would be the backscene (perhaps one for home, and one for exhibitions?). The home layout... The home portion of the layout would still be split up into two or three boards (whilst I've never moved house in all my 29 years on this planet, not planning ahead would just be tempting fate). Whilst I'd love to exhibit it, I think it would realistically be too big; likely requiring a small van to transport it (again, I'm not ruling it out). For now, I've called it Leape, which was an old spelling of Lepe - I wanted there to be some separation between prototype and semi-fictional model. It is, after all, an amalgamation of most of the ideas that have been drawn up in the past year, and the various prototypes that inspired them. I will preface these plans by saying these are very much first drafts/ideas - but it should help give the general gist! Above: (CC19) Using the same boatyard module, we can see how it might integrate into a semi-permanent home layout in the bedroom. Again, freehand sketch; so this will be far too optimistic, I suspect! Note that I also played around with adding a third section 'Buckler's Timber Yard' - inspired by Eling Wharf. The above plans are the only ones I've drawn up for the home layout idea, as this has been a recent development - in reality, I expect this to change quite drastically. With so many ideas and plans (more than I've ever drawn for any layout by far!), it's now time to sit down and actually work out what it is I want from the home layout. So, in no particular order, Leape now has to: Have at least one rail-served industry to marshal freight to properly, preferably more if possible. Be a 'line in a landscape' with plenty of opportunities for typical country scenes/cameos. Have recognisable New Forest features (cattle grid, ford, mill pond etc) Avoid extreme compression to the extent that it hinders operation Avoid trying to cram too much into a space - let the scene 'breathe' instead Have at least one bridge (I'd love a working swing bridge to add some further interest, although if I can fit it into the exhibition layout that would be best!) Have a sweeping trackplan and avoid elements parallel to the baseboard edge Make the scenery dictate the baseboard shapes, whilst remaining in sensible/manageable sizes Thoughts for further development Mock ups Needless to say, both layouts will require proper mock-ups done before I can even begin any formal plans! At the moment, I will likely focus on planning for the boatyard layout, which I'm sure will evolve further. Part of this will be assessing if there really is enough room to sit the layout on the studio shelf or not, and how big I can get away with it being! Name You may be wondering about the original name, Coastguard Creek. I still like this name, but I think I'd consider this as the umbrella name for both the home coastal layout, Leape, and the creek-based boatyard layout, ShBramble's Boatyard. I think doing otherwise would cause confusion; not least because the boatyard will be designed so that I can join it onto the home layout, should I wish. Above: The new logos for the three sections, with the 'umbrella' name of Coastguard Creek at the top, and the two layouts below. Can you tell that I've been in a logo designing mood this week?! Two-phase plan? One bonus of approaching this project in two parts is that I can build the smaller Bramble's Boatyard first, and then decide later on if I still want to proceed with the much bigger Leape (or should that be a much bigger leap!). At present, I love the scenes that Leape will feature (particularly the tidal mill), but I worry that not being able to take it to exhibitions will make my interest wane - after all, it would be located in my bedroom (I only go in there to sleep!), and I will already have Bramble's Boatyard to operate within my studio at any time I please. Back in my teenage years I had an L-shaped layout in bedroom, but I didn't run it nearly as much as I should've. I'm a little concerned the same will happen with Leape, but I suppose it might be a good excuse to step away from the computer/studio and have a little relaxation time to operate the layout in an evening. End-to-end or round and round? As far as the home layout goes, on one hand, I like the freedom and realism that an end-to-end layout brings. On the other, I really would like somewhere that I can just run a train around and not always have to keep an eye on it; I haven't had such a layout since my very first one when I was still in primary school, and my scenery consisted of an unpainted papier mache tunnel and large rocks from the garden! I did consider having a test track on two circular 'boards' with one OO gauge line and one OO9. Non-scenic; just a plank of wood with track on it that was perhaps hinged in the middle OR would be split into smaller arcs. The idea behind the arcs would be that I can turn the boatyard into a roundy-roundy via attachable thin boards. I might actually still consider that, as a roundy-roundy takes up a lot of space, especially in a bedroom environment - and it also requires tight curves. Home layout One thing I'm a little concerned by plan (CC19) is that there is very little scope for operation with the home layout as it stands - it almost feels like a wasted opportunity - especially without the shipyard layout attached. I also feel like the layouts, however many sections there are, should be joined directly, rather than using the fiddle yard as a break. I sense that it would be more fun to show the actual junction of the creek branch/spur, rather than assume it off-stage - basically have it more like (CC17) - which is my favourite plan to date. Speaking of which, with that plan I would obviously have to swap the boatyard scene for the timber yard as I would already have the boatyard as the self-contained Bramble's Boatyard! Whatever the case, I'm in no rush to plan the home layout - the focus for now will be on the boatyard. Latest sketch Speaking of which, here's the latest version of the boatyard layout, again, drawn freehand so take it with a pinch of compromise... Above: (CC20) ...this latest sketch of Bramble's Boatyard, now that I look at it, has the exact same trackplan as Sandy Shores! In reality, another siding would be beneficial, but I'll wait until I can do some mock-ups to see what I can fit in the available space. I'm sure there will be many more variants to come - a small swing bridge extension for added interest at exhibitions would be great, but would contradict my liking for a low tide scene! So that's it for this blog entry. I'd love to know what you think about any points that I've raised, and the sketches shown. Do you find it hard to dedicate time to running your home layout? How many of you have actually ever moved onto a 'Phase 2' layout/module that was larger in scope? I'm happy to hear any of your thoughts - they will be much appreciated! Next time: Potential alternate history of the area/railway, research into New Forest industries, and further prototype inspiration.
    6 points
  16. Happening upon the ex-Pipe 'ODA' wagon in 'government stores' (military) trains, I like the idea of running one as a pleasing visual addition to rakes of 'Vanwides'. So tempting fate to have a manufacturer bring one out R.T.R., I bought Peco's Parkside wagons PC43 4 mm. kit at Alexandra Palace in March, and have just finished it, thus: Paints by Precision Paints, water-slide transfers by @railtec-models . Unfortunately, I did not do my research first. Reading the blurb on the Peco web-site, "Additional parts to enable the vehicle to be modelled incorporating modifications made to the prototypes during their working life are included where appropriate", I assumed this meant the revised 'under-carriage' for an ODA would also be in the kit. It is not; I should have bought in addition their PA30 VEA chassis kit. The rods connecting the axle-boxes have been cut off, but of course it still does not look right. However, the results of my bodged fumblings appear to me much better than expected. The kit goes together easily. The metal bearings pushed into the axle-box interiors and wheels ran true and do not wobble, despite my lack of abilities. The body remained square, and parts were easy to assemble and glue. The only surprises were the assembly instructions' contrast with my memories of Airfix kits of forty years ago - no large booklet of many exploded diagrams here - and the step to attach the brake-gear in line with the wheels. Unless the wheels are EM-gauge, the brake-gear each side must be set back about 2 mm. from the sole-bar to line up with the wheels, with nothing there to which to attach it. I bodged it, and put it down to experience. Painting went well, needing three coats of paint plus touching-up using Precision Paints (also bought at Ally Pally). I used Rail-Tec water-slide transfers, my lack of dexterity being accommodated better with these than rub-on dry-transfers. Not having facilities for sprays, I defied the instructions by sealing the transfers with a thin coat of Humbrol 'Matt Cote' varnish. Having had some loco numbers float away once when doing this, the ODA transfers were left twenty-four hours to dry, and most of the varnish 'brushed off' before application on the transfers. The rest of the wagon sides were also painted matt. Incidentally, may I thank Steve of Rail-Tec for enabling me to place a telephone order, as I grew increasingly annoyed at the amount of information the impudent Pay-Pal demand to purchase over the internet, even as a 'Guest': a welcome distraction from the ironing on Wednesday after-noon. I knocked out a 'sheet' for the ODA (the subject of a future post), using the 'Tunnock Caramel Wafer wrapper' technique cited 'elsewhere in this parish'; I assume 1983 was late enough for the blue plastic. Here is a final shot of the ODA, behind a barrier-wagon, in a train arriving, with a new Bachmann VEA behind. I look forward to staging a new cameo soon. Certainly preaching to the converted on this web-site, but I encourage any doubters to try a wagon kit. If I can do it, anyone can. There is a ULV to make next, to carry all those orders for Harvey's beer around the country, and I hope I will be as happy with that. Then I might open the can of worms of 'weathering' at last...
    5 points
  17. Hi all, I've not been feeling like doing much on the model railway stock since about September as I have been quite unwell. At one point, the doctors thought I had brain tumours but luckily, further investigations showed I had a type of Lymphoma (blood cancer) which is treatable. I have since had four rounds of Chemotherapy and have just had my Stem cells re-injected to improve my future immune system. I'm currently in hospital recovering (thank you NHS) and should be home soon. The only thing I have made is a GWR signal box plastic kit. It's too early and not the right size for what I need but some of the parts might be useful as the actual one I need has no kit available for the size I need. Hoping to find you all well. Will
    5 points
  18. Great Western Railway open wagons constructed using Cooper Craft kits, with the addition of Slaters sprung buffers and wheels. GWR 3 plank open GWR 4 plank open
    5 points
  19. Cardboard sketches are one thing, proper models another. Time to get on and work out a way of doing the buildings on Swan Hill that can be done within a reasonable time scale (I've no idea what that really means) and which fit the overall picture of Swan Hill that I had in mind at the outset. There is no "backscene" exactly, the present enterprise is more in the way of whole building that's cut off because there's a wall in the way - in other words, there ain't much width to play with. Drawing stuck down to 1.5mm mounting board... Base coat of Middelstone colour from Vallejo - approximately the colour of a newish London stock brick. First set of cuts for apertures - the cuts which aren't windows or doors are a bridge beam and parapet... more of that anon The back tells the story: the overall thickness is now a scale 'one and a half brick' wall - a sandwich of two layers of 1.5mm mounting board and hardwood filling. The gable is a scale one brick thick and the apertures for windows have a half brick reveal (4.5") on the outside. The long, uninterupted edge is bevelled to fit against the railway room wall: the only edge which mates with the rest of the visible model is cut with a 45 degree mat cutter to make a mitred joint - the brick courses will run round the corner in the proper fashion. The facade courses have been scribed in with a just-not-quite-sharp point, the street doors fitted together with a rivetted beam above: cills are in (not glued yet) and the ventilator louvres in the gable pushed into place. 45 degree bevel... Where it fits on the layout... Some colour and texure reference examples - I've collected dozens over time and sketches of brickwork - the courses and perpends are incised in these examples. A couple of examples of real things - a rather clunky brick terraced house which tries too hard but I love the dog tooth brick cornice and there are other clues for models - the depth of window reveals and shadowing from cills and cornice in particular. The other picture is a bridge abutment, actually the truss bridge over Little Petherick Creek near Padstow. I particularly like the combination of rivetted plate structure and masonry and this abutment has it all: battered piers, troughed floor, curved ends to the ironwork above...not to mention the fine array of lichens. Much still to be done... Part 2 of Bricks and Mortar to follow....
    4 points
  20. In my fictional Quantocks setting, Heathfield Station is a tiny spur off of the West Somerset railway, near the southern end of the hills. My highly restricted space means prototypical settings are impossible so I made do with what I had available. The station has a service often worked by an Autotrain, in these shots operated by pannier 6424. Heathfield station sits in an idyllic spot alongside the Heathfield River, presently cascading after some heavy rainfall in the hills. The sheep appear unfazed. More photos will follow in due course, seem to have run up against my upload limit.
    4 points
  21. Inspirational locations further afield For one of the blog entries for Coastguard Creek, I shared a sketch montage of many inspiring (New Forest) locations. As promised at the time, I'm back with more; but this time from locations elsewhere (albeit within 20 miles). Some sketches aren't quite as detailed as others due to being done at different times, but I still think it helps to give a broad sense of what I'm looking to reproduce, in some capacity: As we did with the last montage, let's look at them in more detail, in turn... Above: Mudeford Sandbank is a spit forming a narrow entrance that leads into Christchurch harbour, and is on the south side of the channel. Unsurprisingly, the large black building above is called the 'Black House'! The sandbank is famed for its ridulously expensive beach huts - which can be lived in from April to October every year; often with a £250k price tag. The spit used to have sand dunes, but visitor pressures have long since eroded these down to almost nothing. On the other side of the narrow channel is Mudeford Quay, with a ferry service to the sandbank every 15 mins in peak season. Above: Originally based in Romsey until 1917, Berthon moved to Lymington somewhen after that date. Amazingly, despite being an international business now, the headquarters is still in Lymington today - a surprising feat in this day and age! The sketch above (albeit with artistic compression due to not wanting to draw every single house), shows the yard and surrounding area in 1928. Further expansion (to the left) occured, although in 1942 it was dealt a blow (just like Husband's Shipyard at Cracknore Hard) when a German bombing raid destroyed the sawmill, 2 workshops, and a house. The scene above is typical of many such boatyards found not just in the New Forest, but also in the surrounding area. Above: Dibles Wharf was located in Southampton, along the western side of the River Itchen. The company (Corralls/PD) had various locomotives at their disposal, including the B4 tank 'Corrall Queen' shown above - which is seen shunting typical 16t mineral wagons. Note that the wagons are shunted in pairs, with the end doors next to each other (as denoted by the white diagonal stripe on the bodyside). This meant they could use the wagon tippler, which allows for two wagons to unload at the same time (although only one is shown above). The coal discharges into a hopper in the middle, below the track. Wouldn't it be great to model this! Above: Holden's Scrap and Recycling Yard needs no introduction if you've been following the development of Coastguard Creek! Base on photos kindly provided to me by RMweb user 'petethemole', I've drawn the above sketch which shows the compact nature of the yard. Note the winch shed at the end of the slipway, and the rusting barge in front of it! It may not be a photogenic location, but that makes it no less inspirational to me. Above: Solent Shipyard could be found on the River Hamble, and as you can see, dealt with some pretty large watercraft! The most interesting features here are the multitude of tin sheds, with the signwriting on the roof of one, and the derrick crane in the foreground. The latter seems quite unusual in that the outriggers (or whatever the technical term is!) do not sit on top of tall concrete blocks, but ones that are flush with the top of the quay. The supporting beams thus also sit flush, which is quite unlike any other example I've found so far. As a result, it would be a good one to model as it would not be quite so imposing on a layout! Above: Langston (spelt without the 'e' for some reason) saw as many as 30 trains a day during summer months, and the level crossing caused absolute havoc with traffic! Fascinatingly, the line was solely the domain of the A1/A1x 'Terriers', the reason for which we'll see later (although I suspect if you're reading this, you already know!). The ground frame/signal box on the left is believed to be the original, although the platform was rebuilt from precast concrete in 1950; replacing the earlier wooden example. Sadly, the stationmaster's house (just visible behind the sign on the right) burned down in a suspected arson attack in 2018, and was subsequently demolished. Nothing else remains of the station, although the route the line once took can be walked. Above: Bosham Quay may seem like one of the more random locations to feature, but I became quite fascinated by the tidal road, which runs in front of the houses seen in the sketch above. As you can probably tell, there are a fair amount of salt marshes and mudflats, and the hefty brick walls (with their buttresses) help to quite literally hold back the tide! The little building on the far right was of particular interest, although I know nothing more about it. Above: Birdham Pool Marina is nearby, and used to feature this very interesting contraption - sort of akin to a sector plate on a model railway. It was used to move boats straight from the slipway (out of shot to the right) onto the concrete apron so that they could be worked on. I presume there was once a winch on the left, and that the boats were then pushed by hand or tractor into position. Unfortunately, the sector plate has now been removed and infilled, and large tractors now move boats around, which are lifted into the water via a modern boat lift rather than a slipway. Above: Langston(e) Bridge was the reason for the use of the dimunitive 'Terriers' on the Hayling Island branch - as it featured quite a severe weight limit! At approximately 320m long, it had a 15m swing bridge mid-channel to allow boats to pass through. Whenever the bridge needed to be turned, 4 pairs of fishplates and signal cables needed to be detatched, with the bridge being turned by hand with a rod and crank system. Despite being a profitable line, the bridge was deemed to be unsafe by the 1960s, and the line soon closed after the immense repair bill could not be justified by BR (£400k at the time). An early preservation attempt with trams sadly led to nothing, and the branch closed entirely, with the bridge mostly blown up (except for the concrete foundations, which proved to be impossible to destroy!). The foundations, as well as the metal supports for the swing bridge, can still be seen today. Medina Wharf Halt is obviously another wooden construction, albeit a much... simpler affair! It was found on the Isle of Wight, on the route into Cowes from Newport. Medina Wharf itself opened in 1878 for unloading coal and merchandise, and was served by boat and rail. The halt shown above was private; provided solely for workmen, and thus never appeared in public timetables. I have to say - the simplistic nature of the construction really appeals to me! Looking at New Forest coastal industries Last blog entry, I showed how important it is to take a step back and really think about the practical aspects of layout design. Part of that was to do with ensuring that sidings actually serve a purpose...so, with that in mind, I decided to do a bit more digging about any industries that can and could be found along the New Forest coast. To that end, I produced the following timeline showcasing some of the more impactful ones; going from 1700 all the way to the present day... Whilst some of the more interesting and rarely modelled industries died out before the 50s when my layout will be tentatively set, there is still plenty of opportunity to include some sort of industry. Above: I've grouped these together not just because they were right next to one another (you can see the tide mill in the left background of the right hand sketch), but also because they are both obviously mills of some description. Despite that, they are vastly different in design, clearly! There's been a tide mill at Eling for over 900 years - the current one dates from the mid 1700s, and replaced the earlier 1420 version. The causeway that forms the mill pond behind has been breached numerous times in its long life, and is still a toll road to this day. The current mill worked right up until 1948, and, after a period of disuse, was thankfully restored in the 70s/80s and turned into a visitor attraction. It's two waterwheels are still extant; one of which is still used to grind wheat into flour - making it one of the last surviving working tide mills in the world producing flour on a regular basis! Quite the accolade. It was again refurbished in 2015, which brings me onto Mumford's Steam Mill... ...this was originally a grain store, but was converted into a steam mill in 1890. It would certainly be an interesting scene to model, however, being a 4 storey building with an additional 3 storey tower on top (not to mention the triple linked silos in front), it would take up a lot of space! The building burnt down in a fire in 1966, leaving just the ruined shell. Thankfully, the lower storey was eventually redeveloped using some of the original materials and turned into a museum and cafe to compliment the tide mill, with brand new apartments above sympathetically designed to look like a mill with sack hoist protrusions. Here's a 1950s view, and perhaps a 20s or 30s view (judging by the fact that the silos are still there, but aren't in the 50s view, and also taking into account similar photos taken around that time). Above: Of particular interest is Eling Wharf, and it's many industries over the years. This was served via a short (1/2 mile) branch from Totton station. Whilst the Burt, Boulton & Haywood timber yard and the South Western Tar Distilleries creosote works were the two main users of the line (certainly from 1923 onwards), the last rail-served industry there was a stone (crushing?) plant which closed around 1993 (see this photo for a stone train in 1988). Whilst there is no longer any rail access, some of the rails within the wharf are still embedded in the concrete, including a section along Eling foreshore, which once connected, via a wagon turntable, the wharf to Mumford's Steam Mill (adjacent to the tide mill). Anyway, it was the timber works that really took my interest; just take a look at this fabulous photo of Eling Wharf - note the Ruston and self-propelled steam cranes - all of which were used to shunt wagons. A little late (70s) for my period, but I doubt much changed from the 50s... and besides, there's always Rule #1 of model railways (let's be honest; after seeing that photo, how could I not buy my own Ruston?!). The Ruston, arriving in 1966, replaced a trio of steam engines - I believe being; a Black Hawthorn, a Manning Wardle, and lastly an Andrew Barclay. The steam cranes continued to work the wharf throughout. After 1973, the heavier (stone) industry that popped up needed to be worked by more powerful locomotives; so BR mainline engines were used - though the Ruston continued to be used by the timber yard and creosote works. That was, until 1975; when the Ruston was disposed of after cessation of the Tar Distilleries. Here's a photo found on the Eling Tide Mill Experience Facebook page giving an amazing overview of the entire site - phenomenal stuff! As an aside, the second page of this PDF gives some extra info about the ships that called there (although 1:76 scale ships seem to be few and far between, and would be likely to take up too much space to model anyway). Above: The Husband family moved from London to start a yacht building company here at Cracknore Hard. When WWII arrived, the shipyard was used for the war effort, including for the construction of Mulberrry Harbour components, although a bombing run in 1940 set both building sheds alight, together with the boats within. Other than yacht building, they also serviced oil tankers from Fawley refinery. The sketch is based from an aerial photos taken in the 1940s, and shows that the shipyard at this time was surrounded by unreclaimed saltmarsh. There were several sheds - the largest of which served two slipways. A long jetty was built alongside, with other slipways and sheds constructed on the south side. A railway spur from the Fawley Branch was built from a junction south of Marchwood Station. Sadly work dried up, and it closed in 1999 - the buildings were demolished a few years after closure, except one; alongside the shipyard was a pub. Husband’s bought it when it closed in the late 70s, turning it into offices. Today it is used by a sea container company, also as offices, and is now surrounded by stacks of containers! The ends of the two railway sidings are still embedded in the concrete. Above: The refinery construction started in 1921. Amazingly, despite the sprawling site, it survived WWII bombing runs unscathed, although refining ceased during the war. Postwar, further expansion occured between 1949-51. Despite previous plans for a railway line to Stone Point, it was the construction of the Fawley Oil Refinery that kickstarted the Fawley branch. There were numerous reception sidings in Fawley, as well as the loading racks. The refinery also had its own extensive narrow gauge railway, as well as an aerial ropeway and jetty to transport drummed asphalt. Sadly, due to new pipelines which are able to transport 70% of all oil, rail traffic dwindled, resulting in the last train leaving Fawley in 2016. The internal narrow gauge line was dismantled long before this, in 1961, although the dual gauge loco shed still remains. Much of the original AGWI refinery has been abandoned in favour of the more modern areas of the site; whilst the jetty visible above still remains, it is no longer used, and the aerial ropeway and asphalt plant are long gone. Above: The New Forest has a long history of military presence, not least on Calshot Spit. Since the building of Calshot Castle in 1539, right up until the RAF base closed in 1961, the spit has been in military use. When the RAF base opened in 1913, a narrow gauge railway was built from Eaglehurst Camp to the end of the spit, and serviced many of the workshops and hangars - bringing personnel and stores down the line. The railway was abandoned in 1960 after the wagons were found to be in a poor state of repair. The base was predominantly a seaplane/flying boat base, being ideally suited on the sheltered waters of the Solent. However, it wasn't all about the military - the base was famous for its involvement in the Schneider Cup Races, where seaplanes/flying boats raced at speeds of up to 400mph! The races (1913-31) were set up to promote the development of seaplanes, and their inherent benefits of being able to take off and land on water; thus removing the need for expensive runways. This page tells all. Sadly nothing remains of the railway, although the church at Eaglehurst Camp is still in use, and several of the large hangars on the spit are used by Hampshire County Council as a huge recreation centre; including a velodrome, climbing wall, and as a home for various watersports. The castle is now a museum, and is run by English Heritage. Above: Bailey’s Hard was originally a shipbuilding site, but in 1790 the brickworks was established. Located between Beaulieu (to the north) and Buckler’s Hard (to the south), it was ideally sited for transport of the final product via barge. Bailey’s Hard also had a short narrow gauge line to transport material from the pits to the quay for processing. Sadly, I can’t find much information about the site, but I do know that it produced buff-coloured bricks, as is commonly found in Exbury, especially. The dual bay two-storey brick building survives, along with its chimney; this has been converted into a holiday cottage. There’s also a rather remarkable circular brick kiln still intact under the cover of trees. Both were built c1855. Above: As salterns are no longer commonplace, I thought it might help to give a brief overview of what they are and how they work. Saltwater enters large ‘feeding’ ponds. This drains into smaller ‘pans’ by gravity to allow the water to evaporate using wind and sun. Remaining brine is pumped, via wind pumps, into smaller furnace pans. The furnace pans were located in brick-built barn-like structures - where as many as 30 shallow metal pans, each a metre or more squared, were used to boil and evaporate the water; leaving the salt behind. At the height of the industry, there were 163 pans between Keyhaven and Lymington; this 5 mile stretch of coast was practically devoted to salterns. Elsewhere, Beaulieu and Ashlett Creek also featured such works, albeit on a smaller scale. At Moses Dock (south of Lymington) two red brick buildings still exist; these are believed to have been the furnaces for one of the many salterns in the area. Most salterns had closed by the 1870s, and indeed, clearly these structures have needed strengthening with a multitude of buttresses and brick ties in order to survive today! What next? With so many inspiring locations, it can be hard to narrow down the options! Clearly, however, there are some here that either I have done before (RAF Calshot, Fawley Oil Refinery), or that ended before the period that Coastguard Creek will be set in (salterns, brickworks). Conversely, that is not to say that some of the features cannot be modelled in some fashion, even if disused! A case in point is Bailey's Hard, where the brickworks would make for an interesting scene; especially with the circular 'beehive' kiln and the tall chimney. The sketch drawn earlier is exactly the type of scene that would work really well at the back of a layout (or in front of a fiddle yard). If all else fails, I suspect I could always convince BRM to let me model one (or some) prototype scenes for future how-to articles... (he says, looking at the literal wall of dioramas already in the studio!) On a slightly more serious note, something that has really been hammered home by my research is the lasting legacy that military operations of various types have created on the New Forest and surrounding area - especially the D-Day landings in 1944. As the layout will be set between the 40s-60s, this could be an incredibly important and interesting subject to model. I have hinted at this in the past with the remnants of the D-Day remains at Lepe, but I can see a lot of potential modelling the run-up to D-Day, rather than the slowly rotting remains in the decades that followed. Even more fascinating would be to model both; using swappable scenes! That, however, may be a bit far-fetched... ...whatever the case, one thing I'm certainly not short on are inspirational locations! In due course (although I've been saying that for a year or so now) I would like to spend a day or two exploring and photographing some of these places (be it still existing, or otherwise), and really soak in the atmosphere and note the details that could be fun to model. Certainly, a visit to the Eling Tide Mill Experience should prove both interesting and worthwhile; amongst other places. P.S. I mentioned at the end of the last entry that I'll be discussing an alternate history of the area in the next (this) post. That will now be postponed, and form a later, separate entry - this one has already got a lot of content and sketches for you to digest! Bonus: As a complete aside, you may remember last time that I talked about the Bramble Bank in the Solent. Well just in case you're interested, here's some more information about it that you may enjoy - I certainly did!
    3 points
  22. I have been spending the last few weekends trying to finish a few projects that have been dragging on for ages. This, the attempt to finish a section of 'new' track for the yard, has had enough done to it as I can manage. The conceit is that the entrance to the yard has been relayed recently with the lifting of a short siding against the warehouse/ grain silos loading bay (all yet to be built), replacing the king-point with a 3-way and slewing track to a single, shared siding along the side of the warehouse. The project was not helped by my buying khaki ballast during the Covid confinement, rather than the grey desired, the only colour available. I had mounted the points on paper when track laying, assuming they could be reused easily for a future layout if required. However, this meant the paper edging lifted, needing disguising with glue and scatter material (again, yet to be purchased and completed). I need not have bothered. I spread the dry ballast, weighing down the paper edges with a book-snake, then dripped diluted P.V.C. glue and left to dry for a few days. Then it was simply a case of painting the sleepers brown and the ballast a Southern Region grey, repainting where I had been inaccurate, and re-repainting until I lost the will to live. Afterwards, I dulled the sides of the rails with a dilute brown acrylic paint mix, returning a few times to touch up missed areas. I will weather the ballast lightly with the centre-line of spilt oil and a wash of brown soon, but am content with the results thus far. Cleaning the points of excess paint and glue was as exasperating as expected - the 3-way still sticks, of course, because it is an Insulfrog - but the locomotives run reasonably well over the track. The results are far from perfect, but I am pleased with the progress made in adding more texture and colour to the layout, and getting closer to something looking vaguely 'realistic'. It is another task to tick off the list towards completion, if nothing spectacular to show.
    3 points
  23. Looking back, I am a serial baseboard builder. I enjoy the woodworking and I'm happy with the results. My last effort was a simple working diorama plank with scenery (see profile photo) now home life has settled down again I'm having another go. This time trying an Ikea Lack shelf with an N gauge inglenook (Boomerang generation (sad consequence of the pandemic) mean my space is restricted again. Starting with a 110cm shelf, because it fitted over my bench I realised that by rationalising my books/magazines and cutting the bookcase down to size I could add a 30cm unit to make space for large radius points. By gluing the shelves together I could use the bracket rebate in the 30cm unit to help hold the backscene board. A simple inglenook has been laid out with a road overbridge to disguise the left end and trees to hide the right-hand end. Buildings will be minimal to help the sense of space, a fantastic Harburn Hamlets Railway office, a Kestrel platform and hopefully a scratch built Goods shed as per Llangynog. I have some Woodlands scenics trees but at £13 for 5 I'm going to have to learn to build trees.
    3 points
  24. More photos, some from the rear of the layout so rarely seen by visitors The first pic reminding me I've still to add flashing to all the buildings here.
    3 points
  25. The space I allocated to the village falls inside the main track loops and is a modest 600mm * 800mm providing me with a challenge to develop a realistic but not cramped setting. The core was a series of Metcalfe buildings, cottages, the Norman church and the Stone-built Wayside Station Shelter (now discontinued), later supplemented by a scratch built manor house and various minor items. These were early steps back into modelling and I soon became dissatisfied with the look of the original cottages and rebuilt them by overlaying Scalescenes printed stonework more typical for my setting. The dry stone walling so common in the region has DAS stones for topping and Scalescenes dry stone walling for the sides. The garden is loosely based on my Grandfather's as best I remember.
    3 points
  26. Having recently acquired a discarded dandy horse from a house clearance off the Old Kent Road, Jean Floret de Cauliflower is quite the man about town. At least, his own frisky imagination tells him so. However, this past week he has consistently upset every innocent pedestrian and skittish filly in Bermondsey. Perhaps it is just as well that his wreckless behaviour may soon be brought to a dramatic finale. The work of our tiny but destructive foe Anobium Punctatum - the common furniture beetle - has gone entirely unnoticed by Jean. The relentless efforts of this miniature pest will surely result in his wooden steed disintegrating in a most undignified manner forcing a swift conclusion to his irksome escapades. Rider and Draisienne made from scratch in 4mm scale over three evenings this week
    3 points
  27. The third stage of this task has not been 'fun', I admit. I will spare the details of what felt like 'one step forward, two back' - see the bodged height of the girder, for example - but I think the viaduct looks presentable now, and have learned much from its construction over too long a time. Most importantly, paint everything at once, so one does not get variations in tones. (Not a total success the final picture, but I like the perspective, if too far up the pier owing to a lack of desire to drill a large hole in the baseboard for the camera.) May I thank @Edward and @Nick Holliday for recommending solutions to the lack of capping stones, in answer to a question from me. I went for a higher pier than expected, desiring a 'monumental' feel to the structure, and leading up visually to the increasing height (leftwards) of the warehouse (yet to be built). Again, the quality of the brick corners up close leaves something to be desired, but previous readers of my rambles have recommended using foliage to disguise errors, which sounds good. When I have the courage, I will try and 'rust' the girder to get that neglected 1970's aesthetic. Only last week did I realise I need more arches, or rather the brick panels above with piers and capping stones, for the far side of the viaduct (facing the viewer) as well. Doh! The next stage involves removing the upper base-board to lay the passenger station track, etc., and line the underneath of the bridge with more sheets of brick. Thankfully, there are plenty more easier jobs in the Goods Yard to finish before I must face this.
    2 points
  28. For the past year or so I’ve been adding to my fleet of early 1900s GWR wagons. The idea is to make each wagon a little different. Here’s a summary of some of the detail differences so far. First up is this gang of Iron Minks. The Iron Minks were built from ABS kits, with replacement roofs from MRD. The grease axleboxes on 57605 were scrounged from another kit, and the deep vents on 11258 were made from styrene. The unusual hybrid livery of the latter van is based on my interpretation of a photo in Atkins, Beard & Tourret. See this post for details. Next is a brace of three-plankers, seen here at rest in the still rather bare sidings at Farthing. David Geen does whitemetal kits for both the round- and square end 3-plank wagons. The 5 inch "G.W.R" insignia was moved from left to right in 1894, but wagons still carrying left-hand "G.W.R" occasionally appear in photos as late as 1905. No. 1897 of the 1854ST class shunts a pride of 4-plankers in the sidings. The 4-plankers are Coopercraft kits, with modified floors and running gear. The rarely modelled Thomas brake gear on 71508 was fashioned from handrail knobs and wire, while the DC1 brakes on 781 is from a Bill Bedford etch. The irregular font of the Tare numbes on 64493 are based on a prototype photo, as with most of the wagons. All good fun. Having said that, I've had enough of building little red wagons for the time being, so now it's on with the layout.
    2 points
  29. Swan Hill is the terminus of a short, double track commuter branch off the GWR in the vicinity of Langley, imagined/modelled in 7mm. The last mile or so of the branch, including Swan Hill station, is carried on viaduct – Windsor comes to mind. The track plan owes something to Uxbridge Vine Street but with only a down siding for reversing into a goods yard (as per Windsor but off scene) and an up siding, shunting spur and dock. There is a single passenger platform serving arrival and departure roads. As at Uxbridge, there is no engine release crossover, so trains reverse and run round outside the station and in doing so, move from part 1 of the model - the station - to part 2 which will be in an adjacent covered area and may never consist of more than a sector table. As there is little room for much width to the model (it's basically 600mm wide), height has been used instead, thus the viaduct. The dotted lines on the drawing show roads and lanes under the viaduct based pretty closely on Fenchurch Street/Crutched Friars (wrong company but never mind) with pubs and other enterprises waiting to be installed underneath. It is not intended to develop goods facilites at ground level – these are “off scene” allowing goods trains to appear and reverse into part 2. It is planned that there will be sufficient building appearing above the viaduct formation level to give the impression of a very constrained town centre site where the road and building layout pre-existed the GWR's intervention in providing the citizens of Swan Hill with a railway station. edited 15/02/22 to restore photos and plan of the layout.
    2 points
  30. Following quite a few sessions, the track is now laid: Hence some test runs with various rolling stock have taken place. Next step fully wiring up the point motors and the control panel.
    2 points
  31. Apologies - this seems very disjointed as it was written across a house move and as a result my plans had to adjust as the space the layout will go in is different, again. In the process I had to pack the layout to move it, and I decided to renew the boards as the old ones, with 40 year old chip board had distorted with time so that none of the joints were flat .... so this is a June 2022 edit / correction of what I wrote nearly a year ago before the move, forced by the rmweb catastrophe that wiped all the photos uploaded in the last year: A minor update since the last entry and a track plan of sorts as promised. The extra length I have allows the station throat to be stretched over 5 or 6 feet as opposed to being cramped within three feet as before - much smoother curves and hopefully a better alignment and running First a photo update showing more flexi track laid along the curve: now with the first cross over built And now a drawing of the projected layout of the main lines. I'm hopeful of adding a small goods yard off the single slip on the extended head shunt 'below' the running lines .... will actually map that out on the real boards when the main lines are done The fancy double curves are down to re-design forced by the move and the desire to re use as much of the previously built pointwork as possible, in particular the 3-way point in the up main to platforms 3, 4 and the central sidings as before If you are wondering about a trailing cross over from DM to UM that is off to the right, there is one, around the bend (!). thats it for now ....
    2 points
  32. These two I've grouped together as they sit side by side in the town so tend to appear together in my photos. The Metcalfe Norman Church requires little comment. I've added interior lighting of which more later, then regretting not using coloured cellophane behind the glazing to give greater effect. In the end I dialed down the soft LEDs to low current and painted over them (to little effect). It is one of my favorite models, from the building challenge to the final product. What else would I do differently? I'd use the Scalescenes pantiles sheet which gives an excellent result for slate roofing, some flashing is also required. The playground has an interesting story. There was a vacant patch of land at that spot and my elder Melbourne granddaughter (5 or 6 at the time) said the village "needed" a playground and THAT was the perfect place. As she had substantial artistic skills even then, I asked her to draw what she wanted, she in turn promptly supplied detailed plans for the various elements. From memories of the playgrounds of my youth plus some research gave me the basic designs for the equipment. We all must remember that heavy galv. tubing used as framing. The end result was greeted warmly. Then it wasn't too long before a new design was offered up by young "C" - "Birthday Party time". This was to be the first of many happy and productive collaborations between the generations as Weston-Heathfield developed and changed shape.
    2 points
  33. 5th June 2022 A brief running session was had today with the magician @amertonman to discuss the progression with the layout. The magiciam's wand has been playing up of late so one hopes this gets rectified soon. A couple of clips from my YouTube channel also:
    2 points
  34. Following a great little video recently produced by Anthony Dawson about the locomotive Jenny Lind of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway, I felt inspired to give my own 4mm scale model a little break from the monotony of the display cabinet. The original locomotive was the first of a batch designed by David Joy and built by E.B.Wilson of Leeds. Delivered in 1847, it was a very successful class of locomotives which owed much to the design of John Gray who had been Locomotive Superintendent of the LB&SCR. His express engine bears a strong resemblance to Joy's creation but his were built by Hackworth's and construction was so painfully slow that they were still being delivered after the better Jenny Lind class were entering service. I built it many ago from a set of castings loosely resembling a kit. Not an easy build and I ended up motorising the tender using a small transverse motor from an old defunct Apple computer. It works ok but isn't a very helpful example for others to follow and certainly not the sort of thing that's ideal to include in the 'kit'! At some point I should perhaps add some crew but for the purposes of explaining these photos, they have clearly gone off to the pub for swift porter before anyone notices they've gone... Note the similarity between Gray's design and the subsequent Jenny Lind's in the drawing below. The odd looking box in front of the driving wheel is the boiler feed pump. A much better drawing of Gray's engine exists but I am waiting for my copy to arrive soon so this one will have to do for now. Plans are afoot to model this one too. I hope the inclusion of the video link is within RMWeb rules, if not please accept my apologies and delete it. I had no part in the making of the video but I have to say the live steam model (not mine) in the video is really something special. I hope you enjoy it.
    2 points
  35. At the end of the last instalment, I'd managed to get a rolling chassis without too much difficulty. The fun started when I tried to use a Markits single slide bar crosshead assembly. It just wouldn't fit. I couldn't adopt the usual dodge of widening the cylinders as their outside face is flush with the loco body. So another plan was hatched using the original Hornby slide bar and crosshead. I had to fit by trial and error, using epoxy to fix the cylinders and the slide bar assembly in place. But after a few false starts all was well. I then turned my attention to the body, which was detailed with parts from the Albert Goodall range, now courtesy of RT Models. Various pipes and fittings have been added from a mixture of lost wax cast brass and white metal and representation of other pipework and linkages added from brass wire and scrap etch. There are still a few tweaks to complete some of these. The body required a little repair, as removal of the original plastic name crests had resulted in a few holes and minor damage. As I'm modelling Watersmeet fairly late on it its life, the original tender body has been replaced with a cut down version and the cab side details removed. The body will need a respray and later box style lining to the cab side. The Irwell Press book is invaluable here for all the little details. Reuniting the body with the chassis, I can see the front end is sitting a little high, but that shouldn't be too difficult to correct. I do envy those who have managed to convert the original model to the wider finer gauges. I must have had a duff one (or been unable to do the conversion properly. Who knows... But we're on the home stretch now!
    2 points
  36. Been doing some scenic work on The Stables. I wish I could settle on a fixed set of approaches for the surface textures, but I seem to be trying out different methods on every new layout! The yards at Farthing tend to feature a cinders/ash/dirt mix for ballast, as seen in period photos. In the past I’ve used Polyfilla (handbuilt track) or DAS (RTR track). But I wanted a more textured look, so tried Chinchilla sand this time. I say Chinchilla “sand” because that’s what was available here in Denmark. Not sure it’s the same as “dust”? Anyway, the fine grain meant that extra careful cleaning of the sleepers was needed, and even then I missed some. Hmm. Once wetted and stuck down with a PVA mix it set nicely - but close-ups revealed an unsightly shine from the quartz. So I applied a couple of fairly thick coloured washes, dispensed as drops from a brush. The sleepers did need touching up afterwards. Well, I got my texture and can live with the result, but I'm not completely happy. Next time I may try mixing in some grout or real ash. For the yard's ground texture I have previously used Polyfilla, but wanted more control so tried a base of DAS, rolled and cut to size. Bacon sandwich, anyone? DAS on a PVA base, smoothed with a wet finger. Antarctic railway. The grey DAS I use dries up white. OK as a base, but a bit too smooth for what I wanted. So I experimented with terrain paste as used by the diorama and wargaming communities. Got some for my birthday. I ended up using mostly the AK Terrains Light Earth. Although coarser than Vallejo Sand Paste, I found it takes paint better and dries up dead matt. I think it's supposed to go on neat, but I found it could be thinned with water to control how coarse I wanted it. My best sable brush, not! Experiments showed it can be sanded down for more smoothness. Adds a bit of variation. In other areas I tried thinning the paste a lot, then stippling it on to add a slight gravel effect. The pastes would be an expensive solution if applied neat over large areas, but with thinning I think their potential increases. The whole thing was lightly coloured with thin washes of Vallejo acrylics. The layout has a slight embankment that separates the yards. This was treated to static grass. I haven't tried static grass before, what a superb mess you can make! I don't have much hair left, so I wonder… Although it’s summer I wanted a subdued colour, so used Mini Natur 2mm and 4mm "Late Fall", and a bit of Woodland Scenics 4mm straw. The phone camera exaggerates the yellow, it’s a bit greener in reality. Edwardian photos suggests that grass was fairly carefully controlled in yards back then, so I resisted the urge to apply it in patches everywhere. Lastly I tried working over the whole area with pigments. It helped blend things together. Note to self: This is MIG Light European Earth (P415), now rebranded as Abteilung 502 Light European Earth (2260). Also a bit of Vallejo Pigments Light Yellow Ochre (73.102). I suppose there’s an un-intended seaside look to it. Shades of Neil’s Shell Island layout. I wish! Where it’s at. Now onward with the trees.
    2 points
  37. And so it begins! Hartham Market is a fictional town set on the Hertford East branch between Ware and Stanstead Abbotts, roughly where the village of Great Amwell is located. It is a traditional Hertfordshire market town heavily based on Hoddesdon, Ware and Hertford with an emphasis on its link to the brewing trade. As a result, key considerations for scenic items include, the River Lea and the New River, a rail served brewery and river side pubs. The layout is set in the early 1990s Network SouthEast era and hence for me is an exercise in nostalgia, as this is the time I began watching trains with my Dad in and around London and the Lea Valley. In addition to the fictional location, I have allowed for certain fictional elements associated with the Hertford East branch to create operational interest: Firstly, I have excluded the Beeching cuts and other line closures in the area. This allows the continuation of the Buntingford Branch and the Hertford, Luton and Dunstable Railway providing a cross Hertfordshire link from Broxbourne to Welwyn Garden City and beyond via the original Hertford East/North connection. Secondly, I have included a triangular junction at the connection from the Buntingford Branch to the Hertford East line allowing journeys to Buntingford from the west. Thirdly, the line hasn’t been electrified so all journeys are diesel hauled at this point. Finally, as I am going to be running only one train in motion at any time, this gives a good opportunity to make Hartham Market the passing location where the Hertford East branch becomes single line for its journey towards Ware. In reality this occurs just east of Ware station. The location of Hartham Market and the local rail links at the time modelled can therefore be seen below The plan for the layout is limited by certain space considerations but is approximately 9.5ft by 2 ft (reducing to 1ft) including the fiddle yard on one end. (See below): The dark blue area to the left represents the location of the brewery, with the New River at the front and the River Lea at the back.The purple line is a reversing loop and is hidden off scene. I have used a fiddle yard style that does require reversing but with the minimal space available, through ladder sidings were not possible. This type of fiddle yard, and the layout as a whole, was influenced by the excellent Lymebrook Yard (see Railway Modeller Oct 2018), which I was kindly allowed to take photos of at the London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace a few years ago. Now having built the baseboards in place and got the track on order, it felt like the moment to begin to share my progress. It won’t be quick (!) but I am sure it will be enjoyable.
    1 point
  38. Last year's slow listless progress on the layout was a sure indicator that all was not well. I finally came to the conclusion that I was being over ambitious in trying to build a room sized layout. Well I'm no stranger to giving up projects part way through, and the decision has now been made to abandon the large layout and go for something more manageable. The old benchwork has already been dismantled and the timber reused to just build a straight shelf along one wall rather than spread out into the room. The height has also been lowered. The former project had the baseboards at a height of four feet, designed to be operated from a standing/walking position. The new layout is at table top height and operated seated from a rolling chair. The viewing height with respect to the model is about the same in both cases, however the lower structure is a lot less overwhelming when you walk into the room. OK, its not looking particularly tidy at the moment, with a mixture of boxed and unboxed modules on top of the framework. In due course the older open modules will be enclosed and the scenery filled out. The layout itself currently consists of four of the pre-existing modules, with a few extra bits of track hanging off precariously. This is only a temporary arrangement in order to keep the trains running. Although the modules are plugged together in a different configuration to previously, they still allow the operations to continue much the same. The sketch below shows the current setup. The new long term idea for the layout is to eventually create a double deck system, with a couple of layers of modules stacked like bricks. Cassettes would be used to swap trains between levels (simulating an off scene passing place). The double deck scheme has been tested with mock ups and seems feasible. I found that if I restrict the module heights to around 8 or 10" it should be possible to run the both layers in a visually satisfactory manner from a seated position (adjusting the seat height accordingly). The extra deck is not likely to happen this year though. It may not happen at all if this turns out to be yet another dead end! But for now it serves as something to aim for and keeps the enthusiasm going. Meanwhile construction has started on a new module, four feet long, divided into two scenes. It will replace the Slaghill module at the left, which will be used elsewhere, but more on that as things progress. Cheers, Alan.
    1 point
  39. I had hoped to show more progress at Swan Hill by now but in spite of hours put in, output looks a bit thin. There's been plenty of drawing (it's warmer indoors at the computer) - part of the current fabrication drawing is shown below together with a few pics of the work-in-progress viaduct and bridge abutment. The abutment face is slotted for square section rainwater DPs but the bearing shelf is incomplete until the bridge itself is made and can be fitted to get the height exact. Unusually, the bridge carries three tracks where an even number would be the norm - but there is such a bridge over Battersea Park Road which only goes to prove the old adage that there is a prototype for anything. The last photo (of the trackwork leading to the bridge abutment) is included because until I looked at it, I hadn't noticed the missing chair - it's odd how pictures can show up things that otherwise get missed. ...If you're reading this post in 2022 (or later!), the bridge abutment which forms the country end (right hand end in the photos) of the layout has been completely re-built since this post was first uploaded - I didn't like it, so I changed it,
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  40. On a cold and damp Saturday and having viewed with huge interest various blogs on RMWeb over the last year or two and having revived a family tradition of building model railways, I decided it was high time to dip a toe in the water and share - with trepidation - the state of play on Swan Hill, a GWR terminus station somewhere in the Thames Valley and sometime in the 1920s. The photo shows the extent of trackwork on Swan Hill as of about three months ago. If the start of this blog shows up OK on the website, I'll elaborate on the track plan and add some detail as to what has been built so far and what is intended - I'll add some up to date photos as well. It's worth mentioning that even this much progress on the layout has taken about 2 years as full time work gave way to part time retirement and, more recently, to more full time modelling. The stock, such as it is, was started some 25 years ago - a scratch built Dean Goods, a Vulcan 57xx pannier and various trucks and vans were completed (and now need upgrading and repair) and a splendid Slater's clerestory coach which is sitting in front of me now, still incomplete after all this time but shortly to be worked on. So back at Swan Hill.....
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  41. Hi all, I've been thinking about getting some more variety with Loco Coal wagons. There is the Coopercraft and Cambrian 10 ton wagons, a Cambrian 40 ton and nothing great in between. Dapol do several wagons liveries as loco coal, but none are spot on. Shapeways do 3d prints of two types, including an N28 body to go on a Dapol underframe. But the underframes were out of stock when I last looked... You can make an N27 body by taking 2 Dapol bodies and putting the fixed end from one where the other has a door end. A bit wasteful, but it then gives me a spare underframe for a 3d print one. This new body can be turned into an N34 by scraping off the top of the door and adding new strapping. Then I realised that many of the loco coal wagons had the earlier DC brakes. You can carve the Dapol moulding, but it is not easy to do neatly. I then had a brainwave - if I used a kit underframe, I could modify it to DC brakes. The five79 ballast wagon being the most suitable donor. Here's the first ones: Top - N27 Dapol body x 2 with five79 underframe modified to DC brake and cast buffers Middle - N28 shapeways body on Dapol Bottom - P23 five79 body on Dapol I didn't waste the ballast wagon bodies as I used the spare Dapol underframes to complete them. Top - N34 Dapol bodies x 2 with modified doors on Dapol frame Middle - P17 five79 modified to DC brake to make earlier type Bottom - N29 shapeways body on five79 modified to DC brake Here's a close up of the N27 showing the replaced end - I mitred the corners before gluing. Hope this gives you some ideas on making wagons that no kit is made for. Thanks for reading Will
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  42. I wanted some Private Owners for Farthing, so have built a couple of Powsides kits, i.e. painted and pre-lettered Slaters kits. I opted for two Gloucester designs to RCH 1887 specifications, one a 5-plank side-door wagon, the other a 7-plank side- and end-door job. I like the overall appearance, although TBH the small lettering isn’t quite up to current standards. Perhaps I was unlucky, they look fine on the website. The kits have blank interior sides, so the moulding pips were filed away and planking was indicated with a scriber. The instructions recommend joining all sides first, then mounting the floor inside. I struggled a bit with this, the floor wasn’t a perfect fit and the sides were lightly curved. Some dismantling and remedial work ensued, but I got there in the end. I used waisted pin-point bearings from MJT. Split spoke wheels on one wagon, and plain spokes for the other one because I ran out. Did some of these wagons eventually receive plain spoke wheels? Otherwise I’ll swop the erroneous set later. Some of the small lettering was a bit damaged or missing as the kits came. I touched it up as best I could. Some bits I simply painted over. I’d rather have absent lettering than odd lettering. The built-up wagons. Having admired Dave’s lovely builds of the 7mm versions of these kits, I decided to indicate the interior ironwork as he has done. For this I simply used strips of Evergreen (painted darker after this shot). Good interior photos of these wagons are rare, so drawing on discussion by Stephen and other helpful RMwebbers I drew up the above sketch to guide my detailing of the interior. Please note that this is my own rough and ready rendering. There are various unknowns and no one has “signed off” on this sketch. Anyone interested should consult Stephen’s drawing and info here. Interior ironwork in place. The kit does include a hinge for the end door. On some wagon types this was positioned above the top plank, but in this case I fitted it just behind the top plank, based on this discussion. Archer’s rivet transfers at the fixed ends. Stephen pointed out the “big nuts” that appear on the ends of many Gloucester wagons, extending from the diagonal irons inside. Looking at photos they seem to have been present on both 5-, 6- and 7-planks as seen here left to right (obviously only at fixed ends). The nuts don’t feature in the kit, so I added them. On the 7-planker I drilled holes and stuck in bits of brass. This proved tricky as it’s just by the corner joins, so on the 5-planker I Mek-Pak’ed on bits of plastic rod instead, as seen above. As usual: Liquid Gravity and 3mm Sprat & Winkles. I'm always amazed how much difference weight makes to the "feel" of a wagon. The couplings too: Ugly they may be, but they turn it into a working vehicle. Weathering the interior with pigments. The “Sinai Dust” seen here is courtesy of the late Mick Bonwick. Thank you, Mick. The Ayres wagon. Phil Parker uses a fibre glass brush to fade the lettering on printed RTR wagons. But these are transfers, so would tear (I did try). Instead I lightly dry-brushed base colour over the lettering. Helps a bit, but not quite as effective. C&G Ayres still exist as a well-known Reading removal company and former GWR cartage agent. This (very) close crop shows one of their removal containers at Reading ca. 1905. But a search of the British Newspaper Archive showed that C&G Ayres were also at one time coal traders [Source: Reading Mercury Oxford Gazette March 9, 1918]. So I need to decide whether to designate the Ayres wagon for coal or furniture. I wonder if this explains the difference between the red Powsides livery and the green wagon livery that I normally associate the company with. The Weedon wagon. You can just make out the nuts on the ends, but they aren't really noticeable. The effort would arguably have been better spent detailing the brake gear! I had assumed the Weedon Brothers were mainly coal and coke merchants, but again newspapers and directories of the time offered further info. [Source: Kelly's Directory of Berks, Bucks & Oxon, 1911]. It seems that manure was also a key aspect of their business. The company features on the right in this directory clipping - amongst lime burners, loan offices, lunatic asylums and other essentials of progress! Though based at Goring, the Weedon Brothers had stores in a number of places, as illustrated in the above 1889 advert. I’m inclined to designate the wagon for manure rather than coal. I wonder what that would mean for the weathering? Richard's latest book on Wiltshire Private Owners is firmly on my wishlist. Anyway, the wagons are now running at Farthing. Here's No. 1897 knocking them about in the sidings behind the stables. Overall I've enjoyed the build. May have a go at applying my own transfers next time. It's just a couple of plastic wagons of course, but I learnt a lot along the way. That's one of the great things about modelling, every build is an entry point to railway history. Thanks to everyone for the help.
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  43. Having made a few posts about the general arrangement and a few details about Swan Hill, I'm just getting around to signalling so it might be a good moment to post the provisional signal diagram "for comment and suggestions" and see what comes up! Swan Hill is GWR and dates to 1927 (or thereabouts). The track layout is loosely based on a reduced version of Uxbridge Vine Street with the goods yard accessed on a reversal (from road No 3) similar to the arrangement at Windsor central station. Traffic is predominantly passenger and the branch is double track throughout (for a double track branch with nothing much at the end of it, see GWR Uxbridge High Street). As at Uxbridge Vine Street, engines can only run round by reversing stock out of the arrival road (No 2) and running round on the crossover (points 1a and 1b). Parcels, horses, milk and other perishables are unloaded in Siding 1 and the loading dock. Other freight - coal, timber, construction materials and so on - goes to the goods yard via Road No 3. Road No 3 can be used by a push-pull service in addition to providing goods yard access: all three roads have direct access to the Up Branch line. The layout is wired for DC operation with 4 controller "zones" - the Up sidings (siding 1, loading dock and headshunt) are on controller 1 (C1: coded yellow for wiring). The Up branch is C2 (red), the Down branch C3 (blue) and Road 3 and the goods yard are C4 (green). Switches, relays and a Megapoints servo driver reverse the points, change frog polarity and allocate controllers and track feeds. Thus, reversing point 11 on the diagram allows C2 to take over control from C1 and, similarly, reversing points 10, 23 and 24 allocates C2 to take over from C4. Reversing point 23 causes C3 to take over from C4 (except for the line to the right of point 24) so that access can be obtained from Road 3 to the Down Branch. The same actions remove power feeds to parts of the track so that conflicting moves are prevented. When all points are set normal, the 4 controllers can operate the different areas independently. What is needed now is signals...
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  44. Weary of the clutter on my un-built viaduct passenger station behind the Goods Yard, I decided to do something about it. From this: ... to this : Thanks to some box-files ... ... with bodged dividers made from corrugated cardboard, some divisions lined with bubble-wrap: Had I the talent, they would be bespoke boxes of wood with dove-tailed joints, etc. But I do not, so this will have to do. The disadvantage of having full-depth dividers (making it less easy to retrieve items) is out-weighed, in my opinion, by having the contents remaining within if one upsets the box. I am making another for the motor vehicles. Hope this is of interest to others.
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  45. A general view of the layout as it is today... 'cardboard city' - some buildings sketched in to build up the picture A good deal of time through the year has been taken up with upgrading the stock - most was put together in the late 1980s and much in need of refurbishment. The Toad has been overhauled with new chimney, new rainstrips, new footboards and handrails: I hope it's now correct for a 1927, 6 wheeled brake. The Siphon G was scratchbuilt in about '87, all wood construction but now needs some better brake equipment. The Opens and GW vans have been improved and should now be correct for date and type: the "GW"s are transfers and the lettering is hand done - I haven't quite got that yet but it's improving with practice. There's been a lot of work on the electrical side - all the points and signals are working (servos with Megapoints controllers) with interlocking between points and signals (a good many relays). Signal building is about 75% complete with the last of the semaphores in progress. Ground signals are yet to be started. Most of the point rodding is complete and signal wires are about to be installed. There are a few new items of stock - the Slater's twin tank milk wagon (a little anachronistic, arriving in 1927 Swan Hill a few years too soon): there is a match truck and a rectangular tank wagon tucked in the siding, running but not yet painted and lettered. In a few months time, when some of the buildings are installed, I'll start on some coaching stock.... but that's for 2022. Swan Hill is the first layout I've worked on - I built some test trackwork in the 1980s, enough to decide that O gauge standards (at the time) didn't seem to work very well and so, after a bit of calculation and close observation, I test built some pointwork to 31,5mm gauge and amended other dimensions to suit. I built most of the stock in the later 1980s, the pannier from a Vulcan kit and then scratchbuilt the Dean Goods. I see from my shelves that I have copies of MRJ from the first issue, numbered 0, through to about 25 and then a long gap until issues dated 2018 and later: that reflects the story so far... first experiments with 7mm scale models coinciding with MRJ issue 0, a long gap when nothing happened and then beginning Swan Hill in 2018. I thought I might be finshed by 2027 and, for that reason, decided on 1927 as the nominal date line for the layout. With progress as it is, that looks a bit doubtful....ah well, we'll see what turns out during the coming year which I will try to document as I go along. Thanks for looking in during the year and best wishes for 2022.
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  46. An experiment with full panel decals as an alternative to traditional lining methods. The idea for this experimental blog came after a second attempt at lining the Beattie Well Tank. I've often heard it said that lining rolling stock takes practice, practice practice, but I didn't want to spend the rest of my life re-spraying and lining a Beattie Well Tank, I'd sooner spend that time building, building, building, also the Beattie Well Tank required bespoke graphics that would be impossible for me to achieve with a ruling pen or brush. Commercial screen printed / tampo printed decals have been around for a very long time and in my mind provide an acceptable alternative for the likes of me that lacks the skill of the pen, but that wouldn't overcome the issue of bespoke graphics. A short while ago, attempts to produce decals with an ink jet printer with replacement cartridges gave unacceptable results and the cost of original cartridges was enough to put a stop to investigating further. Recently, I made a purchase on the bay for a second hand HP laser jet Pro 300 colour printer with non original toners, which will be used to produce decals in this experimental blog for a variety of models, first of which will be the Beattie Well Tank. Artwork. It is intended to produce the artworks for the decals in the same resolution as the printer, the printer is 600 dots per inch ( DPI ), so initial artworks will be 600 pixels per inch, if in practice, this resolution is to low, then the resolution will be doubled to 1200 pixels per inch. It is hoped that doubling the size of the artwork can be avoided, because scaling algorithms can produce unwanted dithering effects, for instance a line that is 3 pixels in width does not divide by two, so pixel colours are substituted to give the impression of correct width. Using Adobe Photoshop, presuming that 600 pixels per inch is fine for the artwork masters, with an image loaded, select 'image' > 'image size' to open the dialog, deselect 'Resample Image' flag and set the 'Resolution' to 600 pixels / inch, the image will now print to the correct scale, another tool used when creating rads and curves was the pen along with one of its associates, 'Add Anchor Point'. Two types of decal papers for use with a laser printer were purchased, one of these was clear water slide ( transparent ) and the other was white backed water slide. Both types of paper have a white backing sheet so at a glance, they look identical. The reason for the white backed decal paper is that most printers do not print white, if the colour white is required in your decal design, then white backed decal paper would be required unless you paint certain areas of your model white. It became apparent during the initial decal printouts that by selecting different print paper types in the printer options dialog box, it was possible to alter the amount of heat used to fuse the toner to the print media, if not enough heat is applied, then the toner has less adhesion, two much heat and discolouration of the toner is visible. 'Colour Laser Transparency' paper type option was selected for the clear decal paper which turned the black borders of the decal a dark brown, adhesion was very good, while 'envelope' paper type option was selected for the white decal paper and although the colours were very good, adhesion was poor and toner could easily be removed with a finger nail. After a little trial and error, acceptable adhesion and colours were obtained with 'Opaque Film' paper type, the full settings were, Paper Size > Envelope No 10, Paper Type > Opaque Film, Orientation > Landscape and under the colour tab : Colours Themes > PhotoS. Some Weeks Later : With the Beattie and Coffee Pot complete as regards to this experiment, an idea of lining the printed decals sprung to mind, using the existing artwork as a test, thin yellow lines were drawn in Humbrol Gloss 7 using a ruling pen over the artwork printed on clear decal paper. This worked out better than expected, being able to draw lines on a flat surface with the aid of a rule helped a lot, corners were cleaned up with a small brush dampened with white spirit, the paint took to the printed surface very well and did not smudge or damage the underlying artwork, with this method, multiple copies of the panels could be included in the artwork, in case of mistakes. Another option that might be worth considering is to spray the decal paper in the required livery and then laser print panel guide lines / borders for cutting and lining, this is an idea that I may try in the near future. Next in line came an incomplete scratchbuilt Manning Wardle 0:6:0 loco which needed a few minor modeling details adding before it could become the next victim for these trials. A decision was taken to be a little more adventurous with the artwork and add quite a few full panel decals for the boiler, sandbox's, tool box, bunker sides and back, cab sides and saddle tank. As before, artwork was first printed out on plane paper, the decals cutout and checked against the model before printing the actual decals on white backed decal paper. One problem that became evident when fitting the decals was that if a decal was cut slightly oversize, it would not sit tight in the corners, so checking the actual decal with the model prior to fitting is also important. Colour matching. A simple test was done using a scratchbuilt sign board from a previous layout of Wool Station, the sign board was first sprayed in white primer followed by a coat of Revell 56 matt blue. The camera was set for internal lighting and the resulting photograph was imported into adobe photoshop were the medium tones of the image were sampled with the eyedropper tool. A second colour sample was obtained by searching google for Revell 56 matt blue and the third sample was a colour used on the Charles Rhodes horse drawn cabs, which when making comparisons between the printed decal and the newly printed sign board, looked pretty close. The three sign board artworks were added to the Charles Rhodes cab artwork and labeled 'EYEDROPPER', 'REVELL SAMPLE' and 'LOOKS CLOSE'. Final Thoughts. Although the results obtained were satisfactory, there are a few points worth mentioning, the printer used in this experiment had a 600 dpi resolution and pixelation was slightly noticeable to the naked eye and very apparent with a magnifying glass, there's no doubt that the latest printers with typical resolutions of 1200 dpi would make pixelation less obvious, for me, the second downside was the lack of strength or vividness to the colours. That aside, I will continue to experiment along these lines and blog anything that might be of interest. Snitzl.
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  47. No great excitement but the last section of trackwork for part one at Swan Hill was completed over the weekend (including the bare bones of the last base framework required). The Slater's all 3rd coach standing in the down siding is also now complete (except for one or two brass fittings for the ends) and a 1900 vintage rivetted steel plate bridge beam installed on its padstones over one of the lanes under the viaduct. Work on the viaduct walls and the shops/warehouses underneath will be the focus of the next few weeks - oh, and tidying up the controllers and electrical junction box which is presently an unholy muddle.
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  48. Background One of the major challenges I've found with model railways is finding something to keep me interested in a plan or prototype after the initial enthusiasm has waned - I've got most of the way through a number of plans only to completely lose interest. I've decided that a better choice is to keep myself grounded in what was around me as I was growing up - a layout set in the British Rail southern region in the '80s. Style There were MANY little branch lines in the area I'm living - most are gone, but the ghosts remain. My layout is themed around one of these smaller suburban termini. I would like to include some freight traffic, and siting the layout in suburbia rather than an urban location affords that pleasure. Taking great inspiration from Cyril Freezer's Minories and the freight/goods yard from Purley, I think I have come up with something broadly plausible. Layout Plan The following image shows the layout plan as it stands now, two boards of 5' x 16" (the latter so it fits through my loft hatch - scenic bolt-ons will be added in time). Please note, I have decided to add a runaround loop onto the middle pair of tracks since this plan was created: Some notional 3D renders show the view from the station throat, including a potential scenic extension after the crossovers consisting of a bridge over a road: Inspirational Photos Gravel Shed - based on this depot in Ardingly Coal Concentration Depot - just a rough approximation of the heaps/vehicles Station - based on Bromley North Some examples of the locomotives and freight: Two Class 33's at Purley (my local station), the left is on an engineer's train while the right is shoving some HEA (new-ish air braked hoppers) into Platform 6, which was used as a runaround. Between the two you can see the fencing, gravel piles and conveyor of the gravel dealer: (copyright SED Freightman) A Class 37 dated slightly earlier, dropping off domestic coal at the coal concentration depot in (I think) Selhurst - a few miles away from where my layout is set. A double-headed train of Class 33's pulling a heavy stone train en route to the gravel dealer at Purley: (copyright SED Freightman) Once the darling of the Gatwick Express (an intercity service running from the airport to London Victoria), soon enough the locos found work on the grimiest of duties. This is another HEA coal train en route via Clapham Junction to Purley: 3rd Rail multiple units will form the bulk of the passenger service, such as a 4CEP Shuttle services to adjacent termini are handled by much smaller 2-car 2EBP's: There will, of course, be the rare occasion for loco hauled services - standard BR(s) practise was to use 4TC (four car units with loco controls at the other end to the loco so it can be used effectively as a multiple unit):
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  49. Here’s an update on the sidings at Farthing, or "Old Yard" as I have now dubbed this part of the station. I have reached the point where detailing can begin. I'm going for the uncluttered look, although a few weeds etc will be added at some point. Inside the "biscuit shed" we find an old timber built buffer stop. Like the shed itself, it is a survivor from N&SJR days, before the GWR gobbled up the proud little station and turned it into a goods yard. Being a modest lot, the N&SJR built their stops from coffee stirrers. Elsewhere, standard GWR stops rule the day. These were made from the rather nice offerings from Lanarkshire Models. I've modified the kits slightly by removing the left hand section of plain whitemetal rail, as I needed to have proper rail as far in as possible. The finished kits have a nice chunky appearance. They look like they could, er, stop a train. Close-ups can be so cruel. Someone will be having a word with the PW gang about those chairs, not least the missing one! Mind you, the real thing wasn't perfect either. This was cropped from a larger photo, to illustrate that it’s OK if you bend the stay bar... I've also made some point levers, originally from the Southwark Models range, now available from Roxey Mouldings. They appeared around 1900 and can be seen in some sidings, yards and sheds of the period. There were two types and the kit allows for both. I chose the simplest type. I chickened out on the soldering. Gel type superglue worked fine though. The only issue I had was with the weights, which are built up from layers. They do need opening out, and the handles need slimming down to accept them properly. As you can see, I struggled a bit with this. This cropped detail from a larger photo shows how the levers tended to be fitted on extended timbers, with the rodding often - but not always - boarded over. The boards were arranged in various ways, sometimes parallel to the track, sometimes perpendicular to it. I wanted to suggest something rudimentary so went for this arrangement, although these low shots suggest that I should perhaps add some boards at the side. I wonder how shunting horses navigated the levers? Another crop here, showing what seems to have been the standard painting scheme, ie weight and main lever was white, the rest was black (including the tip!). The points - so nicely built by John Jones - use a moving timber as tie bar. I laid the boards to accommodate this, so that the timber slides below the boards. I really must trim that pin! I've also added some fishplates. On my last layout I used the etched ones on the left, but felt that they were virtually unnoticeable. So I decided to experiment and use the plastic variant this time, which has more pronounced moulding. These are intended mainly for isolating gaps, so a slight modification of the rear side was needed. But alas, I hadn't thought it through. The result looks OK from a distance, but in close-up they appear quite thick. Of course it doesn't help that there is no actual rail join in this case! I also had problems with wheels bumping on them, so had to file them down a bit. I'm not blaming the product, it's probably due to my incorrect use of them. This is what happens when irreverent amateurs try to be clever with finescale products A loading gauge has also been made, using the Smiths kit of the simple, early variant. The light stone livery may be a little controversial, as many modellers paint them white. However... ...looking at photos from the period suggests light stone on this type. Above is one example cropped from a larger photo, PM me for others. Stephen Williams' Great Western Branchline Modelling is onto something similar in his livery guide (Vol 2 p71). He says dark stone for base of post and white for the rest, but adds that some may have been all over light stone. Could it be a period thing, or was there perhaps a difference between wooden and metal types? Finally, a note on the backscene. After much back and forth, I ended up with my usual solution: A simple embankment wall. Once again I used the vacuum formed product from Langley. It isn't particularly well detailed but I feel it works OK as an unobtrusive background that adds to the atmosphere but doesn't steal the show. Such heavy infrastructure may seem like overkill for a handful of sidings, but I wanted to avoid a rural look, and indicate that we are seeing the margins of a larger yard and station. The embankment wall thereby forms a recurring feature across all my 3 Farthing layouts, as seen in the medley of photos above. I’m hoping this will help emphasise that each layout shows a small part of the same overall station. So if you think it is all becoming a bit repetitive, I have achieved my goal....
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  50. There was a time when men were men and horses weren't lasagna. I’m currently building some horse-drawn vehicles for the little yard behind my goods depot. I began with Langley’s whitemetal kit for a GWR 5 ton wagon. This represents one of the standard designs often seen in photos from pre-grouping days, especially in the London division. It should be said at once that it isn't a finescale kit - indeed it's a bit rough in places. But with a little work I thought it would be OK for a position in the middle-ground of this little layout. The kit as supplied. At 20£ this is no cheap kit, though I imagine the three horses and carter are part of the reason. There is little flash, but most parts do need a bit of filing and tweaking to make a good fit. The instructions are reasonable, although some details of the assembly are left to the imagination. To improve appearances, I filed thick bits down to a leaner shape. I added rails between the side boards, and used wire in drilled holes to secure items (as per photo above). I compromised on the stanchions that support the "raves": These are moulded as solid triangles, but replacing them is not really practical, I think. In primer. The seating arrangement follows the elevated “Paddington” pattern (as opposed to the much more basic “Birmingham” style). The parts provided for this looked overscale to me, so I basically rebuilt the whole seating arrangement. The fore carriage was fitted in a way that allowed it to actually pivot. There are shire horses and then there are shire horses! The one on the left came with the kit along with two others. The one on the right is from Dart castings. I opted for two of the latter. I replaced the supplied chain with something finer. To fit the chains to the horses, I sunk bits of wire into the beasts, fitted the chain and then bent the wire to form a small loop. For the lettering, I needed yellow letters. There are no ready-made transfers available for these vehicles, so I plundered the HMRS GWR goods wagons sheet, building up the wording letter by letter. The spacing to accommodate the framing was also seen on the prototypes, although it is accentuated here due to the thicker castings. The HMRS sheet does have yellow letters, but not enough for my purposes, so as an experiment I used white letters and coloured them afterwards with a yellow marker. I wouldn’t really recommend this – it works OK at first but you have to be very careful with the subsequent varnishing or it will take the colour right off. I’m not entirely happy with the lettering, but life is short. Done. The chain in the middle is a rough indication of the chains and skids used for locking and braking the wheels when parked. I do like the ‘osses. I was going to call them "the Finching Sisters" in honour of the two lovely ladies on Robin's Brent layout. Then I realized they were male. In position in one of the cartage bays. Although one or two details don't stand close inspection on this vehicle, I am reasonably satisfied with the overall outline and feel of it. The wagon seen from inside the depot. Not sure what to add in terms of load. It is tempting to do one of the sky-high loads seen in some photos (eg here), but I think it might become visually over-powering on this vehicle. Maybe on the next one. Off-topic: Looks like a leftover from the new year decorations has found it’s way into the goods depot. Happy New Year everyone! Notes on the prototype For what it’s worth, I’ve added here some of my own notes on these vehicles. Note that they are mainly based on my own observations from photos and drawings. I do have "Great Western Road Vehicles" by P. Kelley, but despite some useful illustrations, this book does not really go into much written detail on the horse-drawn wagons. Perhaps "Great Western Horse Power" by Janet Russell is better, and worth a purchase? Design These wagons were used for standard and heavy goods cartage. There were different types built to this style, some with six “bays”, some with five. Some were built for a single horse, some for two or more. The tare and tonnage varied considerably across the different designs. They had the “Paddington pattern” of seat arrangement, where the seat was elevated above the wagon. Hoops could be fitted to accommodate sheeting. A light version of the same design was used for parcels delivery vans, with hard tops. Distribution The wagons were especially prominent at Paddington, where photos suggest they were the all-dominant type in the 1900s. However they were also used elsewhere on the system (even as far as Cardiff, according to one drawing). In some areas they seem to have been rare though, eg at Birmingham Hockley the dominant goods delivery wagon was of a quite different design. A photo from Slough in the 1920s shows the type I have modelled alongside one of the Birmingham style vehicles, so the different types did appear together at some locations. Livery In Great Western Way (original edition), Slinn states that by the 1900s, station names were applied to larger horse-drawn vehicles whenever there was room for it (as seen on my model above). I have a theory, though, that this practice ended sometime after 1905 or thereabouts: Looking at photos after that date, station names are no longer present, and the “Great Western Railway” and numbering is all on one plank. Slinn also states that numbering was in random positions, but as far as I can see the numbers on these vehicles were always at the front end of the wagon. Perhaps Slinn missed the fact that the relative position of the lettering and numbers was necessarily “handed”, because we read from left to right (ie on the left hand side, it would be written “667 Great Western Railway” and on the right hand side, it would be “Great Western Railway 667”). According to Slinn, the lettering for horse-drawn vehicles in the 1900s was yellow or gold, shaded or not. I doubt gold would have been used for wagons like these, and there is no apparent shading in the photos I have seen. So presumably plain yellow (but the shade of yellow not clear?). I have sometimes wondered whether the lettering was in fact white on some wagons, because it stands out with very high contrast in some photos. However, looking at photos of parcels vans (which are known to have had white letters on their hard tops) it seems that the letters on wagons were darker than white, so presumably yellow. Later in the 1930s, horse-drawn vehicles adopted a different chocolate and cream livery and a different lettering style.
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